Multiculturalism is not à la mode nowadays. It is attacked by both right-wing populists and mainstream politicians and leaders of liberal democracies. Indeed, conflicts surrounding cultural diversity and recognition are among the most salient issues in contemporary societies. Should liberal democracies recognise specific cultural rights of minorities? If so, should they grant rights only to indigenous national minorities or also to immigrants? Is such a recognition compatible with the basic liberal principle of state neutrality?
Practical questions of this kind are in quest of sound theoretical foundations. Alan Patten’s approach to multiculturalism, developed in Equal Recognition (2014), is the most recent and prominent example of such an effort. Considered “the most important contribution to the philosophy of cultural diversity since Will Kymlicka’s Multicultural Citizenship”, Patten’s work elaborates new and original conceptions of culture and liberal neutrality. It reasserts the case in favour of liberal multiculturalism and applies its theoretical framework to concrete contemporary issues, such as language rights, federalism, secession, and immigrant integration.
This collection presents a critical review of Patten’s approach to cultural plurality. The critics question the overall normative strategy of Equal Recognition, its account of neutrality, especially with regards to language rights, its assumptions about democracy and, finally, its relevance to public policy debates. It will be of interest to political scientists, philosophers, and legal theorists, and will inspire students and politicians alike.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy.
1. Introduction: Alan Patten’s theory of equal recognition and its contribution to the debate over multiculturalism Sergi Morales-Gálvez and Nenad Stojanović 2. Unequal but fair? Cultural recognition and self-government rights Rainer Bauböck 3. Neutrality, autonomy, and power Eldar Sarajlic 4. Neutrality of what? Chiara Cordelli 5. Dispositional neutrality and minority rights Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen 6. Fairness and equal recognition Denise Réaume 7. Two principles of equal language recognition Helder De Schutter 8. On the political and democratic preconditions of equal recognition Matteo Gianni 9. Normative political theory, democratic politics and minority rights Nenad Stojanović 10. Missing the overlap between theory and practice: Patten’s Equal Recognition in the face of the Catalan case Albert Branchadell 11. Equal citizenship, neutrality, and democracy: a reply to critics of Equal Recognition Alan Patten