This publication comprises the papers accepted for the second of two academic workshops on the theme of ‘Debating Multiculturalism’ organised by the Dialogue Society in spring 2012. The Dialogue Society is organising this second workshop through its Birmingham Branch in partnership with Keele University and Fatih University.
The papers presented here are draft papers submitted and printed in advance of the workshop. They address a question of acute contemporary relevance: should multiculturalism be jettisoned as a failure or defended as the path to a flourishing diversity? The ‘state multiculturalism’ publicly criticised last year in David Cameron’s Munich Speech was a UK example of European government policies embodying a concern to ensure respect for the cultural and religious identities of minorities. Cameron is one of a number of prominent voices in the European political mainstream who claim that multiculturalism has failed to counteract fragmentation and extremism. Meanwhile, proponents of multiculturalism continue to urge that to abandon multiculturalism would be to abandon an achievable future of genuine equality, mutual respect and creative intercultural symbiosis.
Exploring multiculturalism across Europe as well as in the UK context, these papers bring the perspectives of academics and practitioners to bear on this eminently topical and crucially important debate.