Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

SULCIS Working Papers,
Stockholm University, Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS

No 2012:4: Is There Really a Backlash Against Multiculturalism Policies?

Keith Banting () and Will Kymlicka ()
Additional contact information
Keith Banting: Queens University School of Policy Studies, Postal: Stockholm University Linnaeus Center for Integration Studies - SULCIS, Stockholm University, S-10691 Stockholm, Sweden
Will Kymlicka: Queens University Department of Philosophy

Abstract: In much of the western world, and particularly in Europe, there is a widespread perception that multiculturalism has ‘failed’ and that governments who once embraced a multicultural approach to diversity are turning away, adopting a strong emphasis on civic integration. This reaction, we are told, “reflects a seismic shift not just in the Netherlands, but in other European countries as well” (JOPPKE 2007). This paper challenges this view. Drawing on an updated version of the Multiculturalism Policy Index introduced earlier (BANTING and KYMLICKA 2006), the paper presents an index of the strength of multicultural policies for European countries and several traditional countries of immigration at three points in time (1980, 2000 and 2010). The results paint a different picture of contemporary experience in Europe. While a small number of countries, including most notably the Netherlands, have weakened established multicultural policies during the 2000s, such a shift is the exception. Most countries that adopted multicultural approaches in the later part of the twentieth century have maintained their programs in the first decade of the new century; and a significant number of countries have added new ones. In much of Europe, multicultural policies are not in general retreat. As a result, the turn to civic integration is often being layered on top of existing multicultural programs, leading to a blended approach to diversity. The paper reflects on the compatibility of multiculturalism policies and civic integration, arguing that more liberal forms of civic integration can be combined with multiculturalism but that more illiberal or coercive forms are incompatible with a multicultural approach.

Keywords: Multiculturalism; immigration; civic integration; citizenship

JEL-codes: J15; J18

24 pages, October 5, 2012

Full text files

SULCIS_WP2012_4.pdf PDF-file 

Download statistics

Questions (including download problems) about the papers in this series should be directed to Eskil Wadensjö ()
Report other problems with accessing this service to Sune Karlsson ().

This page generated on 2018-01-23 23:38:17.