Pluralising national identities : lessons from theory

Meer, Nasar; (2014) Pluralising national identities : lessons from theory. In: Sense of Belonging in a Diverse Britain. UNSPECIFIED, pp. 11-26. ISBN 978-0-9569304-8-4

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The fact of pluralism, to borrow a phrase from the philosopher John Rawls, emerges as self evident in a world comprising nearly seven thousand languages, five hundred ethno-cultural groups, and innumerable religions spread across nearly two hundred recognised sovereign states. By definition, therefore, pluralism is an inescapable feature of human societies, and ‘can neither be wished out of existence nor suppressed without an unacceptable degree of coercion, and often not even then’ (Parekh 2000, 196). National identities have long struggled with reconciling cultural pluralism with an idea of collective membership. In one respect this is odd because the intermingling of cultural (including religious and ethnic) diversity is as old as recorded history. On the other hand, it may well be anticipated that unsettling established social and identity configurations creates challenges, something that is no less apparent in modern polities.


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