Clayton Chin, Recognition as Acknowledgement: Symbolic Politics in Multicultural Democracies (Ethics@Noon-ish)

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Recognition as Acknowledgement: Symbolic Politics in Multicultural Democracies

Political symbolism is both integral to the social unity of democratic states and a source of deep controversy. Many of these debates concern the problem of symbolic inclusion: the extent to which democratic states should actively transform political identity to be more inclusive of their constituent groups. This article argues that the two dominant philosophical approaches to defending multiculturalism, liberal cultural rights theory and recognition theory, conceptualize recognition in ways that neglect the symbolic inclusion of immigrant groups. This is because members of minorities may formally enjoy individual rights and state accommodations of their cultures and yet still be symbolically marginalized. To address this, we develop a specifically multicultural concept of recognition as a form of acknowledgment. Such acknowledgement addresses the political belonging and democratic standing of immigrant communities, and takes general (e.g. valuing diversity) and specific (addressing particular communities) forms. The analysis suggests new lines of cross-national research.

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Social and Political Sciences
University of Melbourne




Political Science
University of Toronto



Wed, Feb 23, 2022
12:30 PM - 01:45 PM
Centre for Ethics, University of Toronto
200 Larkin