Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys Essay Example
Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys Essay Example

Book Review of Multicultural Odysseys Essay Example

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  • Pages: 4 (982 words)
  • Published: October 24, 2018
  • Type: Book Review
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Globalization has had a profound impact on the world, transforming it into a small global village that continues to shrink. This effect can be observed through the blending of cultures as individuals travel and settle in distant locations. Will Kymlicka, a well-known author renowned for his work on multiculturalism, addresses this topic in his 320-page book titled Multicultural Odysseys. Kymlicka, who identifies as a liberal multiculturalist, has authored several books published by Oxford Press including Multicultural Citizenship (1995), Liberalism, Community, and Culture (1989), and Contemporary Political Philosophy (1990). These publications have significantly influenced discussions surrounding this subject. His book Multicultural Citizenship (1995) received prestigious awards such as the Macpherson Prize and Bunche Award. In addition to being an author, he has served as an editor for publications like Rights of Minority Cultures, Justice in Political Philosophy,, and


co-edited numerous journals. Currently holding the position of Professor of Philosophy at Queen's University, Kymlicka's remarkable contributions to multiculturalism have solidified his status as one of the foremost liberal multiculturalists worldwide.

The global spread of multiculturalism plays a major role in today's world, impacting political discourse and international legal norms. While some criticize this diffusion for potentially jeopardizing universal human rights, others argue that the globalization of multiculturalism is rooted in the human rights revolution. According to Kymlicka, this globalization is limited by the revolution itself. By examining the liberal democratic values of different states, it becomes clear that multiculturalism is deeply embedded within these frameworks. This conclusion is reached by considering reasons for change and their impact on universal human rights. Despite being a significant revolution in international relationships, this phenomenon has not received enough scholarly attention. It

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is this revolution that has made many states more conscious of how they treat ethnocultural groups experiencing rapid growth in numbers. Kymlicka explores the decline of multiculturalism during the era of globalization through analyzing intergovernmental organizations and their role in establishing international multicultural norms. In his book Multicultural Odysseys, Kymlicka presents his argument on the establishment of cultural norms, which is divided into three parts providing an extensive analysis of the processes contributing to these norms' establishment.Kymlicka (2007) critically examines the impact of merging western cultural norms with liberal multiculturalism, analyzing its effects on multiculturalism through various processes. The book's first section explores this phenomenon in an international context, addressing global issues and how human rights revolutions have influenced its growth. According to Kymlicka, liberal multiculturalism has been embraced by the international community as a way to prevent ethnic conflicts. The discussion surrounding multiculturalism arose due to ethnic wars within communist states and ethnic politics in western states. However, Kymlicka argues that post-communist Eastern Europe cannot be fully engulfed by ethnic conflicts despite their prolonged duration. He attributes the rise of multiculturalism in these countries to factors such as global warming, terrorism threats, and immigrant groups' presence. To protect human rights, Kymlicka proposes that non-western nations adopt liberal multiculturalism and emphasizes the importance of deliberating on implementing these suggestions to safeguard universal rights. This proposal is reinforced by contemporary ethnic conflicts. Additionally, Kymlicka extensively examines the consequences of liberal multiculturalism in western states and presents prerequisites for its success.The text emphasizes the need for distinct multicultural policies to address three categories of minority groups. Factors like increasing rights consciousness, demographic changes, safe political mobilization points,

desecuritization of ethnic relations, and consensus on human rights have led Western states to adopt liberal multiculturalism. As a result, multicultural systems have been implemented in different ways for minority nations, indigenous people, and migrants. However, Kymlicka's approach has flaws as he categorizes immigrants as a minority group while focusing more on the other two categories. Furthermore, migrant issues are not adequately addressed in his book despite their significance within the context of multiculturalism. Moreover, Kymlicka primarily concentrates on Western states while many cases involving migrants occur in non-Western countries. The author should have paid more attention to migrant workers in non-Western countries like Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, and various African nations where they constitute a significant proportion. While Kymlicka supports multiculturalism for protecting minority rights, he fails to discuss how this protection would extend to migrants in non-western countries. Another concern is his amalgamation of liberalism with western culture.Throughout his book, Kymlicka fails to thoroughly analyze liberal values as a blueprint for a "good life," except when briefly disregarding Buddhist or Islamic perspectives on multiculturalism in a footnote. This suggests that his primary focus is protecting and promoting his interpretation of liberalism and liberal multiculturalism. Some may argue that authors have the freedom to pursue specific political projects; however, it is crucial to recognize that Kymlicka does not clarify how a purely western view of multiculturalism can be universally applicable. The problematic nature of Kymlicka's approach becomes apparent when he neglects to clearly differentiate between liberal values and what may be deemed unacceptable within certain sectors of western culture. One example illustrating this inconsistency lies in his treatment of women's well-being, specifically regarding abortion. The

text covers various subjects, such as a hospital board opposing abortion due to religious reasons and presenting abortion as an act aligned with liberalism, underscoring the need for its prevention. It acknowledges that in the Western world, abortion is seen as an individual choice but does not extensively address female circumcision (also known as female genital mutilation). The author emphasizes the importance of non-western nations eradicating illiberal practices like female genital mutilation.While the author acknowledges that the prevalence of this practice in non-western states undermines its perception as a choice, there is an underlying bias against western culture in their argument. Overall, Will Kymlicka's book "Multicultural Odysseys" receives high praise for its clear and well-written presentation of valid facts regarding how multiculturalism has been impacted by the human rights revolution. However, some suggestions may arise of Kymlicka's favoritism towards Western culture when discussing liberal multiculturalism in non-western contexts.

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