- Hardcover: 280 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 19, 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0198297122
- ISBN-13: 978-0198297123
- Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.9 x 6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,251,294 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Multiculturalism of Fear 1st Edition
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"Anyone interested in multiculturalism and wishing to become acquainted with contemporary political theory's attempts to address the issues thrown forward by the national and international politics of diversity cannot do better than begin with Jacob Levy's study."--thics
About the Author
Jacob T. Levy is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is rich in examples of these hard problems. One of my favorites was a discussion of female genital cutting in a Western Democratic state. A panel put together at a public hospital determined that, to serve their community which included many East African immigrants, they would be willing to perform a procedure that removed no tissue and left no damage to sexual function. What to do in this case? Forbid a procedure deemed deeply wrong by the surrounding majority community in an effort to protect innocent young girls who have not consented to the procedure? Or allow the largely symbolic procedure out of the justified fear that these families would find a way to perform the traditional (far more damaging) procedures instead in secrecy, perhaps while traveling back home to visit relatives?
Levy's nuanced and thorough discussions of such fraught, no-right-answer issues is the highlight of the book, whether these issues are about protecting individuals from internal minority culture cruelty, or indigenous land rights, official state apologies, rights of secession, special exemptions or rights of assistance for religious minorities, etc.
Levy takes the rich diversity and fluidity of individuals within and between cultures as a simple fact about the world. He doesn't romanticize either the individual in their capacity to reason and choose or the community in the meaning it often provides for people's lives. This provides a good counter both to those multiculturalists who tend toward cultural relativism and collectivism and to those libertarians who would "solve" problems of cultural conflict by simply ignoring them via a shallow individualism.
I do have one complaint about the book. While roughly the first half of the book is riveting, around the middle there's a long section where it reads more like a legal textbook than philosophy. This was too dry for my taste, but it does pick up with a fascinating final chapter.
Three cheers for Levy's first book.