Malloy: The debate on multiculturalism needs a correction

ECMI Director Tove H. MalloyThe European critique of ‘multiculturalism’ is uninformed, explains ECMI Director Dr Malloy in a new Issue Brief. Add traditional minorities’ experiences to improve the debate level, she recommends.

For centuries, Europe has been a culturally diverse society. And for centuries, governments have had to deal with diversity management. Since the middle of the 20th century, mechanisms to govern multicultural societies have been implemented with regard to traditional minorities by many European governments. And the mechanisms have worked.

These and many more observations in the Issue Brief #28, Beyond the Limits of Multiculturalism: The Role of Europe’s Traditional Minorities, lead Dr Malloy to conclude that “a return to ‘old’ multiculturalism could inform and improve the much maligned debate on the limits of multiculturalism.”

Add traditional minorities’ experiences

The Issue Brief #28 discusses the role of traditional minorities in multiculturalism, in particular in terms of institutional arrangements at different levels of government:

“[T]raditional minorities have been part of the European fabric of cultures for centuries, and they have contributed to making multiculturalism work through a number of inter-cultural dialogue mechanisms,” reads the Issue Brief #28. And further:

“In the debate on multiculturalism in Europe, traditional minorities are often excluded even though their experience with diversity is longer than most. This is because the received wisdom in Europe seems to equate multiculturalism with immigration and lately mainly with Muslim communities.”

Beyond Merkel and Cameron

The title, Beyond the Limits of Multiculturalism, is obviously an attempt to contradict what has become a “received wisdom” of Europeans; that the concept of multiculturalism has exhausted its possibilities. Merkel and Cameron are but the most famous proclaimers of the concept’s failure.

Read also: Malloy: Multiculturalism is more than Muslims

Merkel’s ethnic remarks add fuel to fire (Euractiv 18 October 2010 and 7 February 2011)
After Merkel, Cameron too says multiculturalism has failed (Euractiv 7 February 2011 and 22 December 2011)


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