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Significant difference? A comparative analysis of multicultural policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands

Significant difference? A comparative analysis of multicultural policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands

Laura Coello
With an introduction by Baukje Prins
Copyright Date: 2010
Pages: 64
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  • Book Info
    Significant difference? A comparative analysis of multicultural policies in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands
    Book Description:

    Violent incidents that took place in 2004 and 2005 in the Netherlands and the UK respectively prompted people to claim that multiculturalism had failed. This claim requires an assessment of the effect of the policies that were drafted based on this political philosophy. In this study, the author analyses two sets of policies developed from multiculturalism: policies of anti-discrimination of minorities and their labour market participation. The effect of these policies is assessed by studying the policy objectives and their results.Based on this review, the author concludes that while there is still much to achieve in the fields of anti-discrimination and labour market participation, multiculturalism did not fail in the UK. On the contrary, it created a positive public perception of diversity and a high participation of minorities in the labour market. This contrasts with results achieved in the Netherlands where policies have fluctuated in such a way that the public attitude towards diversity is ambivalent and the participation of minorities in the labour market is much lower than that of their native counterpart.

    eISBN: 978-90-485-2150-0
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. On either side of the Channel Introduction
    (pp. 5-8)
    Baukje Prins

    On the 4thof May 2002,The Economistpublished an extensive survey article on the Netherlands.¹ Its findings were very positive. Regarding controversial issues like drugs, prostitution and euthanasia the Dutch approach had worked remarkably well. Its policies of toleration had resulted in quite effective programs of education, careful control and shared codes of conduct. The Dutch realized, the reporters of the British magazine approvingly observed, that ‘zero tolerance’ would only cause problematic practices to go underground, and that legalizing and regulating was a much wiser and prudent way of handling these contested issues. However, in spite of their ‘politically...

  2. Introduction
    (pp. 11-14)

    In Europe, nation-building has historically targeted national minorities, encouraging and sometimes forcing citizens of a territory to integrate into common institutions. But after the Second World War and especially in the 1970s, immigrants have become the target of these policies. Kymlicka differentiates between countries with minorities that have historically been part of the territory where a new state is formed (national minorities) and calls these countriesmulti-national states. Countries with diverse populations caused by foreign immigration are calledpoly-ethnic states.

    In reality, most multi-national states are also poly-ethnic states: the USA, Canada, Australia, Russia, Western European countries, along with countries...

  3. 1. The choice in policies: Assimilation, Integration and Multiculturalism
    (pp. 15-20)

    The definition of minority is not a simple one. Minorities can be defined in numerical terms or in the access of a group to economic and political power. The controversy is that in some cases when a group is officially defined ‘minority’, governments need to grant this group special attention, privileges, etc. Here, the term minority is used for immigrant groups (regardless of their number) and will therefore sometimes be replaced by the term ‘immigrants’. The ‘dominant’ group or society does not need to be native, as is the case in the USA, but in the case of the UK...

  4. 2. Multiculturalism
    (pp. 21-26)

    Multiculturalism was adopted gradually, providing policy makers with new instruments for dealing with diversity challenges. Only in some cases was multiculturalism adopted as an integral strategy resulting in a systematic review of legislation and followed up by a coherent set of policies and instruments. Even if it was not the official choice, by the end of the 1990s multiculturalism was a prominent strategy when dealing with diversity.

    The ideology of multiculturalism is based on the Kantian principle of individual freedom to live by the rules and judgments of a person’s own conscience. The idea of individual freedom was developed further...

  5. 3. Multiculturalism in practice
    (pp. 27-46)

    The unions that resulted in the present day UK and the Netherlands have had, historically, weak nation-building projects. Nor during Empire did the governments of these countries aim at making their imperial subjects British or Dutch citizens. The heterogeneity of populations was acknowledged in their colonies. The choice of multiculturalism in these two countries, although “conditioned by distinct traditions and specific historical contexts”,⁴¹ could therefore be seen as natural.

    Yet “Why did these countries adopt multiculturalism?” and “what goals were the governments of these countries seeking to achieve when doing so?” These questions will be explored in this section by...

  6. 4. Conclusion: Did Multiculturalism fail?
    (pp. 47-50)

    My conclusions are based on a review of two sets of policies implemented in relation to multiculturalism: anti-discrimination policies and policies that facilitate the participation of minorities in the labour market. For both sets of policies, the following questions are asked and answered: Why did the governments of the UK and the Netherlands choose multiculturalism? What were the aims and objectives they wanted to achieve by implementing multicultural policies? Based on these aims and objectives, did multiculturalism fail?

    In short, the incremental, long-term policies implemented in the United Kingdom in relation to anti-discrimination and labour market participation seem to have...