Multicultural Motivations: Power, Counterpower, Elites, and Independence

Title: Multicultural Motivations: Power, Counterpower, Elites, and Independence
Authors: Zamat, Christopher
Date: 2016
Abstract: This thesis examines the motivations for adopting multiculturalism. To this end, it examines a phenomenon that is commonplace in everyday life but is curiously absent from the academic literature: power. I argue that power provides a better causal explanation for the adoption of multiculturalism than previous explanations, such as desecuritization, and renders justifications for multiculturalism based exclusively on moral grounds insufficient and impractical in the world of politics. I divide the analysis into two parts: power acquisition as a factor that prompts dominant groups to enact multicultural policies, and power as a factor that enables non-dominant groups to mobilize for greater rights. In the process, I examine the structure of power in the modern nation-state, and claim, in short, that it is not only a network of boundaries, rules and institutions, but also an instrument used to delimit independence. I also claim that dominant groups will be most amenable to accepting multiculturalism if it does not alter the existing power praxis, and even reinforces the authority of the bearers of power. In areas of the world where multiculturalism is perceived as granting minorities too much power, it has been and will continue to be outright rejected. Moreover, I contend that minorities are not powerless and can effectively mobilize to acquire greater rights by engaging in ‘counterpower’. Ultimately, I conclude that the realistic prospects of diffusing multiculturalism, in light of the analysis of power, are poor, since in many areas of the world, authorities have too strong a grasp on power, and the counterpower of the masses is concordantly too weak. In this respect, a focus on the concept of power with regard to the adoption of multiculturalism reflects the political reality.
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