Political liberalism, social pluralism and group conflict
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
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This dissertation develops a political liberal approach to multiculturalism as an alternative to its dismissal by some egalitarian liberals and its celebration by some multicultural liberals. Some egalitarian liberals overstate the liberal tension with group-specific claims, disregard the role of culture in a person's life, and exaggerate the propensity of group-specific claims to exacerbate conflict. Confusing religion with culture, they assign to religion the status of an all purpose good that liberals traditionally assign to income and wealth. While political liberals require that the state grant exemptions to religious practices that violate uniform rules, these egalitarian liberals do not. Some multicultural liberals overstate the liberal failure to accommodate group-specific political claims, exaggerate the role of culture in a person's life, and ignore the invented nature of culture. Confusing culture with religion, they assign to culture the moral weight liberals traditionally assign to religion. Political liberals, however, assign to culture the same social weight they assign to a person's family, firm, neighborhood and other associations. Political liberals also distinguish encompassing groups, such as language-nations or factory-towns, whose members primarily live, work and socialize with their own group, from other groups, whose members do not. The former have greater social weight, though not moral weight, than the latter. This leads political liberals to require state support for encompassing groups to adjust to new social and economic circumstances, irrespective of whether they are cultural.(cont.) Unlike some multicultural liberals, political liberals do not require that such adjustment lead to the maintenance of the encompassing group because it is a cultural community. Finally, political liberals distinguish the role of reasonable differences over how to treat others as equals, from that of hate and greed in aggravating group conflict. This leads to a less pessimistic view about the prospects for resolving group conflict. By looking at reasonable differences among liberals over political claims in two group conflicts - Tamil self-determination in Sri Lanka and Black political representation in the United States - a political liberal approach to cultural pluralism can contribute to the design of just institutions that resolve group conflict.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2001.Includes bibliographical references (p. 214-221).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Political Science
Massachusetts Institute of Technology