The Democratic Predicament : Cultural Diversity in Europe and India book cover
1st Edition

The Democratic Predicament
Cultural Diversity in Europe and India

ISBN 9780415811897
Published March 22, 2013 by Routledge India
366 Pages

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Book Description

Both India and Europe have been undergoing a difficult process of negotiating cultural, religious and ethnic diversity within their democratic frameworks. In fact, recent incidents of xenophobic backlash against multiculturalism and minority communities in Europe, as well as myriad movements for constitutional recognition of castes, tribes and languages and the emergence of Islamophobic terror in India, question the conventional idea of democracy as the idyllic preserver of diversity.

This volume contests the simplistic connection between democracy and diversity by proposing that democracy, in fact, produces, sediments and reinforces cultural heterogeneity. It argues that in democratic polities, disparate cultural practices are often converted into identity categories, with disturbing implications for national identity, constitutionalism, political governance and citizenship. While mobilizations on the plank of cultural differences are typically viewed as being born in undemocratic spaces with little toleration for diversity, they also find fertile soil in democracy insofar as democracy celebrates diversity and allows cultural dissent to thrive. Such dissent, while essential for democracy, has difficult consequences. Examining the fundamental conflict between constructions of particular cultural identities and mandates of a unifying democratic ethos, the book brings forth the complexities underlying the politics of identity recognition and national integration.

In making a radical intervention in the discourse, this volume offers a critique of existing paradigms of multiculturalism. It will interest scholars and students of political science, sociology, and postcolonial and comparative studies.

Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations. Acknowledgements. Preface. Introduction: Democracy and the Production of Cultural Diversity. 1. Limits to Negotiations of Identities Riva Kastoryano 2. Multicultural Nationhood and the State in India Subrata K. Mitra 3. Rethinking Pluralism and Rights: Meditative Verbs of Co-Realizations and the Challenges of Transformations Ananta Kumar Giri 4. Democracy, Diversity and Contestation: A Transnational European Perspective Lise Rolandsen Agustín and Birte Siim 5. Democracy Promotion and the Problem of Peaceful Co-existence: Exploring the ‘Democratic Diplomacy’ of India Kate Helen Sullivan 6. Postcolonial Cosmopolitanism: Making Place for Nationalism Rahul Rao 7. Descriptive and Normative Pluralism: Making the Transition Neera Chandhoke 8. Democracy, Pluralism and Diversity: India and the European Union between Globalization and the Nation-State Daniele Conversi 9. Democracy and Diversity and the Vernacularization Framework Lucia Michelutti 10. A Comparative Study of Multiculturalism in Theory and Practice in the European Union and India Maryna Rakhlei 11. Multiculturalism Re-visited Mandakini V. Jha. Select Bibliography. About the Editors. Notes on Contributors. Index

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Jyotirmaya Tripathy is Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT Madras).

Sudarsan Padmanabhan is Assistant Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT Madras.