Ethnicity and Group Rights

Ethnicity and Group Rights: Nomos XXXIX

Ian Shapiro
Will Kymlicka
Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 643
https://www.jstor.org/stable/j.ctt9qg304
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  • Book Info
    Ethnicity and Group Rights
    Book Description:

    Within Western political philosophy, the rights of groups has often been neglected or addressed in only the narrowest fashion. Focusing solely on whether rights are exercised by individuals or groups misses what lies at the heart of ethnocultural conflict, leaving the crucial question unanswered: can the familiar system of common citizenship rights within liberal democracies sufficiently accommodate the legitimate interests of ethnic citizens. Specifically, how does membership in an ethnic group differ from other groups, such as professional, lifestyle, or advocacy groups? How important is ethnicity to personal identity and self-respect, and does accommodating these interests require more than standard citizenship rights? Crucially, what forms of ethnocultural accommodations are consistent with democratic equality, individual freedom, and political stability? Invoking numerous cases studies and addressing the issue of ethnicity from a range of perspectives, Ethnicity and Group Rights seeks to answer these questions.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-8885-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. PREFACE
    (pp. xi-xii)
    I.S.
  4. CONTRIBUTORS
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  5. PART I: MEANINGS OF ETHNICITY AND GROUP RIGHTS
    • 1 INTRODUCTION
      (pp. 3-21)
      WILL KYMLICKA and IAN SHAPIRO

      When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, liberalism appeared to many commentators as the only ideology which retained any validity or viability in the modern world. Initially, the collapse of communism seemed to many to signify the “end of history.” But liberalism proved incapable of containing or defusing the ethnic conflicts which were unleashed in the former communist regimes, and what replaced communism in most of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union was not liberal democracy but ethnonationalism. As we approach the twenty-first century, commentators are increasingly wondering whether liberalism can contain ethnic conflict in the West. What used...

    • 2 CLASSIFYING CULTURAL RIGHTS
      (pp. 22-66)
      JACOB T. LEVY

      A vast array of extant and proposed policies seek to accommodate cultural pluralism; these do not lend themselves to being normatively analyzed as a single group. On the other hand, many of them do rise or fall by similar arguments. This chapter seeks to identify those cultural rights-claims which are morally alike and (as importantly) those which are unlike. It does not argue for or against any set of policies or rights-claims. Instead, it offers a way of sorting those policies which may facilitate and clarify such arguments.

      Normative work on cultural rights is difficult to structure. One can rarely...

  6. PART II: THE IDEA OF TOLERATION
    • 3 CULTURAL TOLERATION
      (pp. 69-104)
      CHANDRAN KUKATHAS

      Many of us think that we should be tolerant of cultures or ways of life other than our own, even—or perhaps, especially—when we find them settled in our midst. Some would go further to argue that these cultures are owed more than mere toleration: they are owed a form of “recognition” which concedes that their ways are deserving of at least a “presumption of equal worth.”¹ Yet while this may all be very well as an attitude of mind, there is a practical problem which remains: how should we respond to cultural practices which we regard as intolerable?...

    • 4 RESPONSE TO KUKATHAS
      (pp. 105-111)
      MICHAEL WALZER

      There are many different actual and imaginable regimes of toleration. Professor Kukathas invites us to consider the possible virtues of a regime in which there is no “common standpoint of morality” that governs the political decision to extend or deny toleration. There is, then, no individual or institutional agent occupying such a standpoint and making such decisions. And so there are no decisions at all, or no authoritative decisions, only a process of mutual adjustment and accomodation among the groups or communities that constitute the larger society (if that’s what it is). No sovereign One tolerates the Others; they all...

    • 5 ON HUMAN DIVERSITY AND THE LIMITS OF TOLERATION
      (pp. 112-153)
      ADENO ADDIS

      There are about 8,000 distinct cultural groups inhabiting the more than 180 independent countries that are currently members of the United Nations.¹ Most nations are multiethnic and multicultural. For some countries, such as many in the developing world, such diversity is most often the result of political boundaries arbitrarily drawn by the former colonial powers. For others, such as the former colonial powers of Europe, multiethnicity is, to a large extent, a consequence of the presence of citizens from the former colonies. In France, for example, the issue of diversity is raised more intensely in relation to cultural activities of...

    • 6 THE IDEA OF NONLIBERAL CONSTITUTIONALISM
      (pp. 154-184)
      GRAHAM WALKER

      Constitutionalism is often praised as the antidote to tyranny. Not surprisingly, the momentous political transitions now underway in various parts of the world—most of them exiting tyranny of one sort or another—have sparked a revival of interest in constitutionalism. Especially in the postcommunist region, constitutional government has a huge appeal after several generations of unconfined rule by one party in the pursuit of a grandiose ideal. As the mechanism of the vaguer hope called democracy, constitutionalism seems as opposite to Stalinism as the rule of law is opposite to the rule of men. Still, in postcommunist lands as...

  7. PART III: THE NORMATIVE STATUS OF ETHNICITY
    • 7 GROUP RIGHTS AND ETHNICITY
      (pp. 187-221)
      THOMAS W. POGGE

      In political philosophy, the topic of group rights raises moral questions of the form: May/should a just society grant legal group right(s)Rto group (s)Gon moral ground(s)M?I address only one aspect of this complex: Should ethnic groups, as such, be favored in the distribution of legal group rights? My negative answer exemplifies the broader view that different types of groups should be considered together and on a par. Here “group” stands for any set of persons who are identified with this set: viewed as belonging together. And the relevant types of groups are, in the...

    • 8 ON JUSTIFYING SPECIAL ETHNIC GROUP RIGHTS: COMMENTS ON POGGE
      (pp. 222-232)
      S. JAMES ANAYA

      I fundamentally agree with an approach that advocates evaluating claims of group rights on the basis of neutral criteria that apply across the board and not just to a certain set of groups. Professor Pogge is correct to raise concerns about chauvinistic tendencies among certain groups that claim special entitlements on the basis of ethnicity (or something like or related to ethnicity). I need not describe here the myriad problems that have arisen in the world of late in association with this brand of chauvinism. The tragic dimensions of such problems are well known.

      On the other hand, I do...

  8. PART IV: GROUP RIGHTS AND GROUP AGENCY
    • 9 GROUP AGENCY AND GROUP RIGHTS
      (pp. 235-256)
      JAMES W. NICKEL

      One source of discomfort with group or collective rights is the belief that many groups, and particularly ethnic groups, are deficient as rightholders. (I’ll call this the “Deficiency Thesis” and abbreviate it as “DT”). An extreme version of DT concludes that groups are so lacking in the characteristics required of competent rightholders that it never makes sense to attribute rights to groups.¹ In this chapter, I explore and evaluate a more modest version of DT. It doesn’t deny that groups can have agency and rights, but suggests that assigning rights to groups is generally a bad idea because groups are...

    • 10 COMMON-LAW CONSTRUCTIONS OF GROUP AUTONOMY: A CASE STUDY
      (pp. 257-289)
      DENISE G. RÉAUME

      In 1843, a minority of the Church of Scotland seceded and formed the Free Church of Scotland. So traumatic was this schism, that it is referred to in Presbyterian lore as “The Disruption.” The new Church put out a call to its supporters to raise funds to build new churches for congregations and new manses for ministers who had been turned out of their old properties. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Free Church comprised eight hundred churches and owned three universities and had investments worth over one million pounds. Toward the close of the century, discussions were...

    • 11 A TALE OF TWO VILLAGES (OR, LEGAL REALISM COMES TO TOWN)
      (pp. 290-346)
      NOMI MAYA STOLZENBERG

      The debate between liberals and communitarians seems to be at an impasse. The communitarian charge that liberalism atomizes community has become a commonplace, so much so that our most prominent defenders of the liberal tradition openly concede that a liberal state will adversely affect the ability of some belief systems to survive. Thus, John Rawls, in expounding his theory of “political liberalism” has acknowledged that

      it is surely impossible for the basic structure of a just constitutional regime not to have important effects and influences as to which comprehensive doctrines endure and gain adherents over time; and it is futile...

  9. PART V: GROUP REPRESENTATION
    • 12 DEFERRING GROUP REPRESENTATION
      (pp. 349-376)
      IRIS MARION YOUNG

      Women’s movement activists and feminist scholars in many parts of the world have suggested that legislatures peopled almost entirely by men cannot be said properly to represent women. In response to such claims, some countries, such as Argentina, have enacted legislation requiring that party lists include a certain portion of women.¹ Even where there are no laws that require it, many parties around the world have decided that their lists are not properly representative without certain numbers of women, and they maintain quotas in their lists.

      In the United States, similar discussions take place about the specific representation of racial...

    • 13 WHAT IS A BALANCED COMMITTEE? DEMOCRATIC THEORY, PUBLIC LAW, AND THE QUESTION OF FAIR REPRESENTATION ON QUASI-LEGISLATIVE BODIES
      (pp. 377-418)
      ANDREW STARK

      In recent years political scientists, writing about fair representation in the legislative and judicial spheres, have noted democratic theory’s failure to deal with the profound representational questions that arise in other kinds of forums and institutions.¹ Prominent among such forums and institutions is the quasi-legislative body—where “quasi” implies the capacity to influence but neither make nor (alternatively) simply rubber-stamp government decisions, and “legislative” signifies a concern with law, rule, or policy making. At the federal level, most such bodies comprise private citizens representing various interests; almost all are established or utilized under the U.S. Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA)...

  10. PART VI: DYNAMICS OF INCLUSION AND EXCLUSION
    • 14 SELF-DETERMINATION: POLITICS, PHILOSOPHY, AND LAW
      (pp. 421-463)
      DONALD L. HOROWITZ

      It has been said of Mikhail Gorbachev that he had the distinction of having lost three world wars. He lost the Cold War, of course. He also lost World War II, because he lost Eastern Europe. And he managed to lose World War I, because he presided over the end of the Russian Empire. This triple defeat produced great changes in the relationship of ethnic groups to territory. Not only did Eastern Europe become free of the Soviet Union but steps were taken to free Slovaks from Czechs, as well as various Yugoslavs from each other, to unite (in various...

    • 15 TRIBES, REGIONS, AND NATIONALISM IN DEMOCRATIC MALAWI
      (pp. 464-503)
      DEBORAH KASPIN

      When African political conflicts are reported in the press, the word “tribalism” is usually reported too, lying at the heart of political parties, territorial disputes, and when they have them, national elections. Whether they are defined by language, culture, or physiognomy, tribes seem to be fundamental to Africa’s social geography, originating in the precolonial past and persisting within and across the borders of modern nations. Tribal identities are thus prior, indigenous, and totalizing, while nation-states are recent, imposed, and superficial. And because tribes and nations are not coterminous, tribalism seems to pose the single greatest threat to national stability.

      These...

    • 16 “THAT TIME WAS APARTHEID, NOW IT’S THE NEW SOUTH AFRICA”: DISCOURSES OF RACE IN RUYTERWACHT, 1995
      (pp. 504-539)
      COURTNEY JUNG and JEREMY SEEKINGS

      South Africa’s apartheid system, which structured politics, economics, and society on the basis of race from 1948 to 1994, has made South Africa an important case study for racial discourse. The 1950 Population Registration Act separated South Africans into whites, Asians, coloureds, and blacks, roughly in that hierarchical order. Although separate development meant officially that each racially defined group could exercise political rights in its “own area,” only whites had a political voice for most of the apartheid era. Petty apartheid—those laws, including access to movie theaters, beaches, public restrooms, hospitals, and so on, which structured contact among race...

    • 17 FROM ETHNIC EXCLUSION TO ETHNIC DIVERSITY: THE AUSTRALIAN PATH TO MULTICULTURALISM
      (pp. 540-571)
      JOHN KANE

      Joseph Raz argues that multiculturalist policy is a response of liberalism to the fact of ethnic diversity.¹ Yet it is a response which troubles many liberals. This is, in part, because its collectivistic bias can seem at odds with the defence of individual rights, and in part because its sanction of multiple sites of loyalty and identity appears threatening to social unity.²

      Australia is one nation which has not been dissuaded by such threats and tensions from adopting the multiculturalist alternative. Its commitment to multiculturalism is founded on the clear hope that cultural diversity can be recognized, respected, and even...

    • 18 STRAIGHT GAY POLITICS: THE LIMITS OF AN ETHNIC MODEL OF INCLUSION
      (pp. 572-616)
      CATHY J. COHEN

      On August 24, 1995, presidential candidate Sen. Bob Dole did something rarely seen in American politics. He returned the one thousand dollar check of a political contributor. The financial donation in this case came from the Log Cabin Republicans, a conservative political group comprised of lesbians and gay men. Still attempting to explain his decision to return the money nearly three weeks later, Dole declared that “what I don’t want was the perception that we were buying into somespecial rightsfor any group, whether it might be, with gays or anyone else.”¹ Thus, the participation of gay male and...

  11. INDEX
    (pp. 617-628)
  12. Back Matter
    (pp. 629-629)