Multicultural Horizons : Diversity and the Limits of the Civil Nation book cover
1st Edition

Multicultural Horizons
Diversity and the Limits of the Civil Nation

ISBN 9780415396073
Published April 2, 2008 by Routledge
160 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

The intensity of feeling that multiculturalism invariably ignites is considered in this timely analysis of how the ‘New Britain’ of the twenty-first century is variously re-imagined as multicultural. Introducing the concept of ‘multicultural intimacies’, Anne-Marie Fortier offers a new form of critical engagement with the cultural politics of multiculturalism, one that attends to ideals of mixing, loving thy neighbour and feelings for the nation.

In the first study of its kind, Fortier considers the anxieties, desires, and issues that form representations of ‘multicultural Britain’ available in the British public domain. She investigates:

  • the significance of gender, sex, generations and kinship, as well as race and ethnicity, in debates about cultural difference
  • the consolidation of religion as a marker of absolute difference
  • ‘moral racism’, the criteria for good citizenship and the limits of civility.

This book presents a unique analysis of multiculturalism that draws on insights from critical race studies, feminist and queer studies, postcolonialism and psychoanalysis.

Table of Contents

1. Horizons of Intimacies  2. Pride, Shame and the Skin of Citizenship  3. 'Children of Multicultural Britain': The Good, the Bad, the Uncanny  4. Loving thy Neighbour and the Politics of Interethnic Propinquity  5. How Does it Feel?: Feeling States and the Limits of the Civil Nation

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Anne-Marie Fortier is Senior Lecturer in Sociology at Lancaster University. Her research interests revolve around critical race studies, critical migration studies, feminist, queer and postcolonial theory. She is the author of Migrant Belongings (2000) and co-editor of Uprootings/Regroundings (2003).


Multicultural Horizons reveals that cultural and racial differences are inescapably caught up in the signification of surfaces: whether these are attached to media visualities or to the prescriptive and judgmental gazes of institutions or neighbours. Fortier's contribution is to show how these inscriptions are embedded in and animated by actual bodies whose singularity is obliterated by being repeatedly called upon to prove their allegiances on the very grounds of their differences in an obsessive and dehumanising cycle.

Sneja Gunew

University of British Columbia, Canada

More systematically than any other work before it, this book puts emotions and the affective body at the centre of inter-cultural relations. This not only yields a sharper and more nuanced understanding of those relations, it also opens up a far richer 'horizon', as the author puts it, for thinking the future. As such this book must be read by all those interested in multiculturalism whether as academics, as activists, public servants or community workers.

Ghassan Hage

University of Melbourne, Australia

' ambitious and innovative agenda...'

'Multicultural Horizons is a slim book that packs in a lot of ideas.'
-Karim Murji, The Open University, in Cultural Sociology