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Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys
Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys

Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys

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  • Pages: 4 (1574 words)
  • Published: October 24, 2018
  • Type: Book Review
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Globalization is an issue that has raised concerns in many ways. The current world has been compared to a growing global village that continues to become smaller as days go by. Because of this, various changes have occurred that a person who lived in the eighteenth centaury will be taken for a rude shock had he visited the world now. With the current globalization people have traveled and settled in different places on the face of the planet far away from home, an issue that has led to mixing of cultures. This mixing has raised interests and it is of this reason that Will Kymlicka presents a 320 page book on Multicultural Odysseys. Kymlicka is a high profile author with five books published by the Oxford Press. He is a renowned liberal multiculturalist having written books such as Multicultural Citizenship (1995), Liberalism, Community, and Culture (1989) and Contemporary Political Philosophy (1990) that have defined debates in the area. Books such as Multicultural Citizenship (1995) have won him several awards including the Macpherson Prize and Bunche Award. He has also edited Rights of Minority Cultures and Justice in Political Philosophy and co-edited several other journals. He is presently at Queen's University as Professor of Philosophy. His exemplary pieces in multiculturalism have won him a good reputation, making him one of the world's leading liberal multiculturalists.

As stated earlier, we are living in a world where global multiculturalism has taken centre stage. This has been felt in the political discourse as well as the international legal norms. A lot of people have condemned this diffusion of multiculturalism. Most of them criticiz

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e it stating that it has been the major threat to universal human rights. There have been criticisms that multiculturalism has been the reason why there is negligence as far as human rights are concern. According to the critics, several crimes against humanity today have been attributed to the negligence caused by multiculturalism. Kymlicka appears to differ with the whole idea. In his book he shows that the today human rights revolution is the major inspiration to the globalization of multiculturalism. He argues that globalization of multiculturalism is constrained by the revolution (Kymlicka, 2007). Looking at the liberal democratic values of several states, I agree with the way he argues because the globalization appears to be embedded in these frameworks. He reaches this conclusion by examining various reasons behind the change, and their impact on universal human rights. He notes that the whole phenomenon has not received adequate scholarly attention despite it indicating a veritable revolution in international relationships. This revolution is the reason why several states have become sensitive in terms of how they treat the increasing ethnocultural groups.

Kymlicka takes interest in multiculturalism in this age of globalization. His attention is mainly on the dying popularity of multiculturalism in recent decades. He examines multiculturalism, both the historical activities and current practices going on. He tends to give more emphasis on intergovernmental organizations in relation to the establishment of international multicultural norms. To make his argument hold water, he presents the book Multicultural Odysseys in three major prts. The topic i

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broken down into three parts with each part being presented in an excellent analysis of the effects of various processes that have contributed either directly or indirectly to the establishment of these norms. By reading the whole book one gets the critical argument of how he conflates cultural norms of the western world with liberal multiculturalism.

The first part presents multiculturalism in the international context. In this part Kymlicka relates to various multiculturalism issues at the international level. From a historical perspective, he examines several multiculturalism policies and their growth over recent years and comes to a conclusion that various human rights revolutions acts led to the multiculturalism globalization being experienced today. According to him, international community became concern with liberal multiculturalism as a tool of preventing ethnic conflicts (Kymlicka, 2007). This was driven by the increased cases of ethnic wars within communist states as well as ethnic politics that are prone in western states. Kymlicka goes a head to argue that the whole post-communist Eastern Europe could not be subsumed by ethnic conflicts even though the time span was long. He attributes the growth of sentiment in multicultural states to other factors such as global warning and threats like terrorism with the states reporting high levels of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism here mainly referred to that of immigrant groups. However, Kymlicka still insists that human rights especially universal rights can be protected by adoption of liberal multiculturalism by non-western states. He argues that this is the best way of guaranteeing protection of human right therefore state should shift their attention to discussion on how the proposals can be implemented. The idea seems to speak for itself, looking at the increased cases of ethnic conflicts reported today.

In the second part of Multicultural Odysseys Kymlicka presents a close examination of the western states and the effects of liberal multiculturalism in these states. This is the section he presents a number of factors to be pre-requisite for multiculturalism. He also highlights minorities in three categories as the major addressees of separate multicultural policies. On the other hand, he argues that western states have recorded a growth in liberal multiculturalism courtesy of five major factors:- “increasing rights consciousness, demographic changes, multiple access points for safe political mobilization’ and ‘the desecuritization of ethnic relations and a consensus on human rights (on the part of the majority)” Kymlicka (pg 122). He demonstrates how the minority nation, indigenous and migrants have been targeted with these factors. The factors have led to establishment of multicultural systems that have affected by these groups in one way or the other. In my view I find this to be the capstone chapter of the book. All other parts seem to refer to this chapter, a suggestion that they are built on it.

On the other hand, I find the part to contain a number of flaws, a character trait that is not prone with Kymlicka. In the part he refers to immigrants as a minority group. He portrays the category as the most controversial aspect in the context of multiculturalism. This fact seems to contradiict with his approach in the section as

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