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Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Myth on Neutrality of the State and Ethnocultural Justice Selma Muhič Dizdarevič (main subject: Immigration and Integration.

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Presentation on theme: "Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Myth on Neutrality of the State and Ethnocultural Justice Selma Muhič Dizdarevič (main subject: Immigration and Integration."— Presentation transcript:

1 Liberal Theory of Minority Rights, Myth on Neutrality of the State and Ethnocultural Justice Selma Muhič Dizdarevič (main subject: Immigration and Integration Policies in the European Union and the Czech Republic)

2 Context of the discussion Political dimension: what is identity of a given society, challenged by newcomers; how do we discern what are the basic values of a given society; how do we explain and justify existence of borders in a liberal state; relation of migration and security; relation to nation-state concept; relation to welfare state concept; why it is easer for some societies to cope with multiculturalism Theoretical dimension: domination of instrumental aspect of reason, civic privatism in political matters and social atomism on individual level = western liberal societies

3 Research target group Immigrant as opposed to national minorities (or asylum seeker, refugees, indigenous people etc.) – either citizens of discernable immigrant origin or denizens (Hammar) Core theoretical problem: individual vs. collective rights from the point of view of liberal theory of minority rights (Kymlicka)

4 Liberal theory of minority rights Core stone of any liberal theory: intrinsic value of an individual. Ideal for negative rights: protection from the state and other individuals. Freedom of denomination – prototype of liberal rights. Analogy to sharp division of state and religion and division of state and ethnicity. – ethnoculturally neutral state.

5 Liberal theory of minority rights (some problems) LTMR presumes and abstract individual as such. Rights, however, can be effectively guaranteed only concretely. Candidate for the concretization – nation state. National integration defines general framework of solidarity, bounders of competency of political authority, provides stable basis for it and enables creation of institutions, which can be perceived as representing all segments of society. (Birch)

6 National integration from denizens´ perspective Lack of non-arbitrary definition of a nation – normative problem Practical problem: integration requires some degree of certainty and definition of what one should integrate into. There is nothing natural in national self-definition, it has to be articulated, when challenged. Concept of culture instead of nation??? Problem of membership (Cole)

7 Euro-Atlantic paradigm Fiction of neutrality of the law + Fiction of a universal and rational individual + Fiction of national integration = Ethnoculturally neutral liberal state (non-teleological i.e. procedural) Insertion of the key questions – can a state be neutral and why do we need collective/cultural rights? Is it necessary and possible to take into account in a publicly relevant way existence of culturally heterogeneous groups in a given society?

8 Arguments against factual existence of ethnoculturally neutral state Weberian and gellnerian concept of the state (monopoly on legal force and monopoly on education) Diffusion of national language/s („Politics in the Vernacular“, Kymlicka) Legal system as a result of cultural embededness and historical development Necessity to take attitude towards social phenomena Cultural relativism

9 Consequences of the impossibility of neutrality Liberal and illiberal nation-building states Criteria of differentiation: degree of coercion of national identity; thin concept of public sphere and thick concept of private sphere; openness for public voicing of minority demands; degree of inclusion; belonging to the nation is not the ultimate societal value; multiple national identity of individuals; willingness to share social space with minorities, which require recognition. (Opalski, Kymlicka)

10 Societal culture Concept of culture, which includes common language and political institutions and does not relate to religious conviction, family customs or individual habits. (Opalski, Kymlicka) Main subject: relation of private and public space.

11 Three models according to Parkeh (of private/public and multiculturalism) 1. Procedural assimilationism (consesus on structure of authority) 2. Civic assimilationism (common political culture, not just recognition of the same authority) – related to Verfassungspatriotismus (Habermas) 3. Millet model (primary loyalty to cultural group and derivatively to the state)

12 Types of societies according to status of private/public (John Rex) Type of societyPublic spherePrivate sphere MulticulturalismUnitaryDiversity AssimilationismUnitary Colonialism, apartheid Diversity Racist society before recognition of civil rights DiversityUnitary

13 Types of minorities, types of expectations (Kymlicka) National minorities Indigenous people Immigrants Refugees Temporary workers (Gastarbeiter) Descendants of slaves incl. forced labor Roma Religious groups

14 Liberalism vs. communitarianism Liberals – individual rights Communitarians – cultural rights Question: If a culture is so relevant for individuals, does it mean that a state has obligation to protect and sponsor it and does that reduce a culture to the endangered species level (Walzer´s expression)?

15 Ethnocultural justice (Kymlicka) Two main aspects: 1. Minorities are also entitled to various degrees of nation-building 2. Minority rights must be supplement not substitute to human rights Two types of rights minorities claim: 1. Internal restrictions (suspicious) 2. External protection (consistent with liberal theory of minority rights)

16 (False) Universalism of human rights Social contract between immigrants and domicile inhabitants Symmetrical rights and responsibilities

17 Conclusion Ethnocultural neutrality is a myth in the sense that believing in it narrows the space for non-dominant cultures to participate in division of social space, but it does not imply that society can become culturally neutral, once this awareness is achieved. Gaining the awareness though does open the possibility to manage different cultural interests in a way similar to managing different interests, which are not of the cultural origin (e.g. sexual or financial). This again in my opinion requires constant spelling out of the “ground rules” of the changing society.

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