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Republicanism and multiculturalism




Russell, Deborah Faye

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One of the most pressing problems facing contemporary politics is the issue of accommodating multicultural diversity. Various political theorists have developed accounts of multiculturalism in an attempt to understand the problems raised by multicultural diversity, and to respond to that diversity. This thesis is a contribution to the ongoing conversation about multiculturalism. It draws on contemporary republican theory, as developed in particular by Philip Pettit, to understand and respond to issue of multiculturalism. Contemporary republican political theory embraces freedom as non-domination. Freedom as non-domination is instantiated through traditional republican institutions of the rule of law, checks and balances, and civic virtue, and in Pettit's account, contestatory democracy. This thesis uses the account of freedom as non-domination to analyse the claims made by diverse ethnic groups, utilising in particular the republican understanding of how individuals may be subject to domination in virtue of their membership of a group. It then draws on the institutions of republicanism to respond to those claims, developing a comprehensive set of proposals for accommodating ethnic diversity. As part of the ongoing discussion of multiculturalism within political theory, the republican response to issues of multiculturalism is compared to other theoretical responses to multiculturalism, in particular to the responses developed by Will Kymlicka in Multicultural Citizenship, and Chandran Kukathas in The Liberal Archipelago. It also attempts to consider what minority ethnic groups would say about the republican response, drawing on James Tully's Strange Multiplicity to access a possible minority ethnic group response. The republican response to issues of multiculturalism developed in this thesis is robust when it is compared to both other theoretical responses, and to the possible response from minority ethnic groups. This robustness serves two ends. It demonstrates that republicanism is a viable political theory, because it can respond effectively to a pressing problem in both political theory and in political life. It also validates the republican response as a valuable contribution to the continuing discussion about issues of multicultural diversity.



multiculturalism, multicultural diversity, republican theory, politics, ethnic groups, democracy, Will Kymlicka, multicultural citizenship




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