Majority-Minority Constellations: Towards A Group-Differentiated Approach
WZB Discussion Paper, SP VI 2020–104, December 2020
28 Pages Posted: 10 Dec 2020 Last revised: 16 Dec 2020
Date Written: December 2, 2020
Multiculturalism has taken a life of its own, swinging too far in one direction. The authors claim that the rapidly changing reality calls for a new majority-minority theory and argue that the moral justifications for cultural minority rights should also apply to majority groups. They present two areas in which majorities may become culturally vulnerable and need legal protection: the regulation of immigration and representations of national identity in the public sphere. The core of the argument is rooted in a unique framework to address majority-minority constellations. This intergroup differentiation approach distinguishes between “homeland majorities” and “migratory majorities”, alongside the traditional distinction of indigenous/national and migratory minorities. In doing so, the authors criticize the tendency in the multiculturalism literature to gloss over differences between the Anglo-Saxon classical immigration countries, where majorities are of migratory origin, and the countries of the Old World, where new minorities of immigrant origin face indigenous majorities. The authors provide practical examples for the implementation of their approach and explain the different meanings of cultural majority rights. Only by a contextualized and relational consideration of groups, they thus conclude, can competing demands of majorities and minorities be fairly evaluated.
Note: This paper is the first chapter of a volume in progress edited by the authors, entitled “Majorities, Minorities, and the Future of Nationhood”. It will include further lead essays by Will Kymlicka, Yael Tamir, and Christian Joppke, as well as commentaries by, among others, Rainer Bauböck, Michael da Silva & Daniel Weinstock, Eric Kaufman, Tariq Modood, and Ayelet Schachar.
Keywords: majority rights, minority rights, nationalism, multiculturalism, populism, immigration, indigenous peoples
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