On openDemocracy


by Sunny
24th May, 2007 at 12:25 pm    

Professor Tariq Modood has a new book out: Multiculturalism: A Civic Idea, is published this week. He is a defender of government-led multiculturalism of course, but in his latest book he goes further and says that perhaps ‘Britishness’, i.e. a national identity, is a good idea. An article in the Guardian yesterday was a bit short.

You can read an extended version on openDemocracy.net. They asked me to write a 500-word reponse to Prof. Modood’s article, which you can read here. That page also has responses by other well known commentators.


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  1. Saqib — on 24th May, 2007 at 6:41 pm  

    Sunny,

    I will have a look at both pieces and give my thoughts in a while. By the way…is the book out yet?

  2. soru — on 24th May, 2007 at 7:43 pm  

    On the CiF thread, you will find an interesting and, I think, new phenomenon: people who claim to know what the word ‘multicultural’ means, but not what the word ‘British’ does.

    It’s wierd, because I bet they could answer questions like ‘is Estonia part of Britain?’ with a higher degree of confidence than they could answer ‘does multiculturalism imply faith schools?’

    There is no need to make things so complicated and abstract. ‘Nation-building’ is a good metaphor: good enough to see where it goes wrong. We don’t need a whole new building, we already have one.

    What we need is an extension on the side of it, another bedroom. Something that gives the new family members some privacy, but with s shared front door.

    When the question ‘is it possible to be Muslim and British’ gets near-universal concensus, you can pay off the builders, because the job will be done.

  3. lithcol — on 24th May, 2007 at 11:55 pm  

    This debate on multiculturalism in the UK is getting a bit stale. The EU is truly multicultural. Blindfold me and fly me to any country in the EU and without hearing the spoken word I could have a good stab at naming the country I am in. Cuisine, architecture etc are a dead giveaway. Cultures are remarkably resistant to change.

    The UK has a large but in overall numbers a small number of peoples from around the world. They contribute to the culture but in no way dominate it. A mistake those who keep banging on about multiculturalism keep making.

    The culture of the British Isles has been evolving over millennia and it is rather silly to suggest that a few immigrants over the last 50 years or so have changed it in any significant way. Historically the major influences have come from Europe and more recently the USA ( mainly European in fundamentals ).

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