Pluralising national identities: lessons from theory

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

The fact of pluralism, to borrow a phrase from the philosopher John Rawls, emerges as self evident in a world comprising nearly seven thousand languages, five hundred ethno-cultural groups, and innumerable religions spread across nearly two hundred recognised sovereign states. By definition, therefore, pluralism is an inescapable feature of human societies, and ‘can neither be wished out of existence nor suppressed without an unacceptable degree of coercion, and often not even then’ (Parekh 2000, 196). National identities have long struggled with reconciling cultural pluralism with an idea of collective membership. In one respect this is odd because the intermingling of cultural (including religious and ethnic) diversity is as old as recorded history. On the other hand, it may well be anticipated that unsettling established social and identity configurations creates challenges, something that is no less apparent in modern polities.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorkshop Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationSense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain
PublisherDialogue Society
Pages11-26
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)978-0-9569304-8-4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014

Keywords

  • national identity
  • British identities
  • pluralism

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