The concept of "authenticity" enters multicultural politics in three distinct but interrelated senses: as an ideal of individual and group identity that commands recognition by others; as a condition of individuals’ autonomy that bestows legitimacy on their values, beliefs and preferences as being their own; and as a form of cultural pedigree that bestows legitimacy on particular beliefs and practices (commonly called "cultural authenticity"). In each case, the authenticity idea is called on to anchor or legitimate claims to some kind of public recognition. The considerable work asked of this concept raises a number of vital questions: Should "authenticity" be accorded the importance it holds in multicultural politics? Do its pitfalls outweigh its utility? Is the notion of "authenticity" avoidable in making sense of and evaluating cultural claims? Or does it, perhaps, need to be rethought or recalibrated?
Geoffrey Brahm Levey and his distinguished group of philosophers, political theorists, and anthropologists challenge conventional assumptions about "authenticity" that inform liberal responses to minority cultural claims in Western democracies today. Discussing a wide range of cases drawn from Britain and continental Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East, they press beyond theories to consider also the practical and policy implications at stake. A helpful resource to scholars worldwide in Political and Social Theory, Political Philosophy, Legal Anthropology, Multiculturalism, and, more generally, of cultural identity and diversity in liberal democracies today.
"In this extraordinarily rich collection of essays, Levey and colleagues examine the complex relationships in political theory and public policy between autonomy and authenticity, on the one hand, and liberalism and cultural rights, on the other. Of particular importance are the critical reflections throughout the volume on the costs and pay-offs of ideas of authenticity in confronting real-world dilemmas."—John R. Bowen, Washington University in St. Louis
"This book is an important contribution to a topic that is of urgent significance. It brings together the leading authors on the topic who discuss the key theoretical and practical issues that are relevant in increasingly multicultural liberal democracies."—Maleiha Malik, King's College London, UK
Selected Contents: 1. Authenticity and the Multiculturalism Debates Geoffrey Brahm Levey Part 1: Individual Autonomy and Cultural Identity 2. Autonomy and Social Disorientation John Christman 3. Autonomy and Multiculturalism Anna Elisabetta Galeotti 4. Belief, Autonomy and Responsibility: The Case of Indirect Religious Discrimination Peter Jones Part 2: Debating Preference and Cultural Authenticity 5. Against Authenticity Anne Phillips 6. Individual or Collective Autonomy and/or Cultural Authenticity? In Defense of Minimalism Veit Bader 7. Authenticity and the Third-Person Perspective Ben Colburn Part 3: Pluralizing Authenticity 8.What is Wrong with a Liberal Assessment of Religious Authenticity? Avigail Eisenberg 9. Analyzing "Authenticity" in the Litigation of Cultural Claims: Reflections on the Role of Expertise Alison Dundes Renteln and Marie-Claire Foblets 10. Authenticity and Jewish Self-Hatred Marilyn Friedman