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Multiculturalism and the Canadian Consititution .docx

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Social Science
SOSC 3391
Tanja Juric

May 9, 2012 CH1–T RUDEAU AS THE F IRST T HEORIST OF C ANADIAN M ULTICULTURALISM  Canada’s official multiculturalism began with a statement that Trudeau made in the House of Commons on October 8, 1971 (p. 27)  Xenophobia – fear/hatred of that which we do not know – i.e., different heritage and cultural identity in U.S o This attitude creates a fertile ground for xenophobia  Possibility for respect being reciprocal – we become empowered and we see that in acting and celebrating our own, others also celebrate their own and we’re more aware in sharing the identities – this is idealistic but on a philosophical abstract this was the goal  Trudeau wanted to aim for neutrality – neutrality should speak to not preferencing any group, but so often it’s just a venire for mainstream status quo to go unchecked – claiming that we’ve achieved neutrality is the problem, neutrality doesn’t seem to be compatible with Trudeau’s multiculturalism or the multiculturalism we have today (i.e., hybrid model) – there’s nothing neutral about our identity or about the shared values that we contribute to Canadian society  Trudeau wanted to create a multicultural nation that didn’t draw from one particular culture  Choosing culture to fit us – having the freedom to test things out, to trust the individual to have the intellectual capacity to try different attitudes and adopt them as their own, free will in terms of creating/recreating attitudes for us anew. We can go out and seek different attitudes that people have  Trudeau was looking to empower individuals with their religions so that they can then go out and teach other people about their religion  White Paper – Aboriginal peoples rejected the White Paper because they considered themselves separate from Canadians; they wanted to have the choice to follow their own laws, and they saw WP as forcing them to conform to Canadian law  Nationalism – often associated with citizenship, collective egoism – collective self, collective identity – unifying identity. Canada is often accused of not having a cohesive identity  Homogeneity – equal from beginning to end, all the same, consistent in every parcel  Heterogeneity – many, multiple, diverse, looks different in different parts rather than homogenous which is exactly the same throughout  Rivalry is not solved through homogeneity, but more likely solved through heterogeneity  Practical measure (p. 36): 1. measures to increase immigration from parts of the world not adequately represented in the base population of the multicultural society; 2. measures to suppress discriminatory reactions of the dominant majority group to the increasing presence of Others; - to support legislation against hate speech, but at the same time it’s dangerous to prevent people from exchanging ideas 3. measures to reduce the political power and discretion of elected representatives, combined with other measures to increase the responsibilities of judges and other independent authorities, judges could be indoctrinated to think a certain way by virtue of their culture, schooling. In the process of education and questioning the values used to judge cases, we learn more across the board – not just particular religions, genders etc. Racist attitudes come from assuming that just because someone comes from a particular background that they’ll think a certain way. We can demand that those in political power answer to the political values and ideals that we have as citizens  P. 40 – ideal citizen  Locke on tolerance – each individual has the right to own themselves, their culture, and has the right to not be prejudice against other cultures and other languages 1  Trudeau put forward the power to individuals to own their language and culture and uses this as a resource and a value to Canadian diversity  The kinds of immigrants that Trudeau was targeting was a European Canadian and not one of middle eastern/African etc. therefore his response might be limited in that he’s responding to his particular political climate  Multicultural identity – dominant term/discourse used by Trudeau and government official; language shifted from pluralistic to hybrid – because it’s outdated in the sense that it’s tainted with this dominant white male norm  Pluralist (ic) identity – multiple identities  Hybrid identity (fusion of identities, deliberate selection of, fluidity of identities – the process of hybridization is a collection of religious and cultural identities that is adaptable to the environment o Liberal individualism – as individuals we have the right to our own voice, freedom, etc., and we have the right to exercise that identity, we’re no longer seen in a monocultural context o Actively creating a hybrid identity becomes a useful skill/attitude to make you potentially more marketable and successful in a multicultural world, a composite of various identities – also in terms of religion and religious traditions o Creates a more cohesive identity, deliberate decision to create this malleable identity  Trudeau took multiculturalism seriously, and saw it as being important, rather than an assimilative model like in the U.S. – Americans have this clash with the rest of the world because they have a fixed identity, whereas Canadians have a porous identity that changes and adapts worldwide  Liberal is not the same as liberal o Liberal = political party o liberal = freedom, equality, individual 2 May 14, 2012 CH2–M ULTICULTURAL R IGHTS ,M ULTICULTURAL V IRTUES :AH ISTORY OF M ULTICULTURALISM IN C ANADA  Aristotle, virtue ethics - part of the citizenship process, what is good is not a complete picture, we’re inherently political animal, e.g., if we complain about the politician of the day but don’t act on it, it’s a problem, the “good” is appropriate only in the particular context, depending on the goods negotiated on o Greek philosophy is based punitive model made out of fear  We have a different system whereby we decide what we feel is good and develop rights from that i.e., freedom of the individual  Multiculturalism as a right vs. virtue - rights language is legally based - it’s a sediment in the law that it’s based on neo-liberalist worldview, the key issue is that when we talk about multiculturalism being rights based, it forces the individual to use the law as a weapon to assert their rights Multiculturalism Rights Virtue  Law (language/framework)  Civic humanism  Individual/group/ cultural rights o Civic = unity, pride  Exercised in anonymous facets o Humanism = humans have some unique qualities different from animals, and we  Grounds the values as something substantial owe it to one another to exercise this for us to use, it justifies the kinds of values that we use in the public sphere (i.e., faculties and exist in the world in peace accommodation of religious difference), and and harmony, the world is structured by provide a legal guarantee for anyone moving humans, and therefore we have the to Canada that they’re allowed to practice right and obligation to create the world their religion we want to live in.  Essentially, humans are working together to create this ideal world, a social constructivist view of the world, we’ve created norms and values, and they’re not given to us by Divine origin (i.e., a theologically-oriented world view)  Having something written in a legal document, even if it’s flawed, prejudicial etc., when it’s sedimented in law it becomes something that can be critiqued, or undone. When it’s not written, we cannot improve it to make it anew  Will Kymlicka’s thesis regarding multicultural rights: calls multicultural rights a liberal theory of minority rights – if liberalism is focusing on the freedom of the individual, is it compatible with minority rights? It’s based on this idea of each individual having the right to having their own identity, and exercise their freedom as an individual to construct and celebrate their identity – this is the way that minority rights become part of the liberal theory 3  3 stages of debates regarding minority rights (p.44): o Liberals vs. communitarians – communitarians are concerned with the group as a whole, asserting what the standards of behavior are, obligation of the individuals etc. Liberalism focuses on the individual. Historically, there has been some switching from liberalist view to communitarian view. Kymlicka sees this as too much switching back and forth and not quite representative of multiculturalism in Canada o Liberal individualism vs. liberal culturalist – liberalism is the language of the day, and the language of the nation, as in focusing on the freedoms and rights of the individual. Is it this nameless/faceless individual that’s voting, or it this individual that is representative of their community? Not just because you’re brown/black etc. that you’ll vote exactly like your demographic, but it’s also fine-tuned by the individual and through the agency of free will. The liberal culturalist approach recognizes more agencies of the individual. Critics would say that because he sees liberalism as a platform that has won, and he focuses on the cultural angle, he doesn’t recognize the power of politicians enough; it’s adopting and normalizing the white dominant class. There is room in liberal culturalist to both acknowledge your cultural heritage, but still provide a mechanism by which the individual could say there are aspects of my religion that are problematic, but don’t reflect my life or my needs. Or, not necessarily rejecting culture, but we’re always adapting to society, to politics in the world o New way to characterize the liberal democratic state – he’s talking about one of hybrids, where we’re able to learn from others and to some degree pick and choose religious values, norms etc., from those we interact with. The language we see in social diversity has changed when focusing on multiculturalism, to cultural pluralism to hybridism. There is no one clear majority that THE Canadian is one of a visible minority, we’re all hybrids of characterizing and upholding to the ever-changing liberal democratic state of diffused identities and values. They’re always being changed anew  Lester B. Pearson – rejected the language of multiculturalism because of its uniformity and the fact that it was too fixed and instead accepted the vocabulary of cultural pluralism where there’s no singular dominant view. His insistence upon the view of cultural pluralism featured prominently debate which instilled a sense of acceptance within the public sphere  Senator Paul Yuzyk (p. 49) – definition of multiculturalism – it’s OK to be different and being able to exercise that difference is a sense of belonging. Yuzyk invoked 2 languages: Rule of governance – focuses on rights to everyone, practice of good citizenship in Canada  Cooperative federalism – operating on the principle of asymmetrical power, not entirely flat out, but one that’s contributed to the different pockets of municipal identities, federal identities etc.  Elite accommodation – operating on a clear hierarchical model  Multiculturalism is not just law, and never has just been law, it was always clearly law AND values or virtues. With the implementation of multicultural policy came the foundation that individuals could embrace their differences and create new identities  Charles Taylor (Canadian political philosopher) P. 50 o What is ‘good’? The way that the good is seen in virtue ethics is different than what we’d see as good vs. bad. It’s anything that is seen as valuable for admirable. If I consider it and a certain amount of people see something as good/worth purchasing than it’s good. o What is considered social good is always considered primary to what is right. This is because chronologically, it’s what gets more and more people to challenge what’s on the books (i.e., same-sex marriage). The law becomes challenged and critiqued, and morally it’s primary because the right is what’s legally and technically there, but it’s nor necessarily the morally right thing. For Charles Taylor, what’s good is then going to inform what the law is, but then we might do something that is illegal because it’s the morally right thing 4 o He saw it as a mechanism to then bolster Canadian identity  Definition of virtue ethics (p. 51) – “an excellence of character constituted by customary social practice and signifying a devotion to the public good” o Excellence is achieved through interaction with one another, social context  Civic participation: virtue ethics and a virtuous life doesn’t come out of nowhere. For most of us, it’ll be that the laws look a certain way. We’re guided by the laws, and ongoing civic participation  Multiculturalism is neither ONLY a rule of law, but it becomes a form
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