Gender and Multiculturalism : North-South Perspectives
Multiculturalism is a concept that has been stretched to include a variety of political conditions, mainly in countries that have liberal democratic political systems and traditions. In this North/South ‘comparison’ we illuminate remedies pursued by governments and various political interests to address the binary. Women’s bodies and rights, and performances of femininity and masculinity often form the battleground of debates of multiculturalism and accommodation of cultural rights in both hemispheres. Tensions of culture and rights may not be the same everywhere. An interesting point of comparison is in the treatment of liberalism – often assumed in the global North to be the universal norms to be defended, whereas in the global South, liberalism itself may be viewed as the problem. Colonial histories are fraught with discriminatory legislation aimed at accommodating indigenous populations, in some cases reinforcing misogynist readings of indigenous or minority cultures and providing a trade-off for more structural redistributive justice through, for example, land reform.
This book will show how varied and complex the embodiment of multiculturalism as a political practice, or policy discourse in different political contexts can be, and how often the outcome of multicultural discourses creates a binary between culture and universal human rights. The aim of this book is to grapple with dislodging this binary.
This book was published as a special issue of Politikon.