My Face

Topics: Sociology, Multiculturalism, South Africa Pages: 123 (41206 words) Published: April 3, 2012

International Journal
on Multicultural Societies
Vol. 5, No. 2, 2003
“Pluralism and
Multiculturalism in Colonial
and Post-Colonial Societies”
International Journal on Multicultural Societies (IJMS)
Vol. 5, No. 2, 2003
Pluralism and Multiculturalism in Colonial and Post-
Colonial Societies
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Matthias Koenig
GUEST EDITORS: Gurharpal Singh and John Rex
MATTHIAS KOENIG, Editorial 104
JOHN REX & GURHARPAL SINGH, “Pluralism and Multiculturalism in Colonial Society – 106 Thematic Introduction”
SIMON BEKKER & ANNE LEILDÉ, “Is Multiculturalism a Workable Policy in South Africa?” 119 STEVE FENTON, “Malaysia and Capitalist Modernisation: Plural and Multicultural Models” 135 HARIHAR BHATTACHARYYA, “Multiculturalism in Contemporary India” 148 MOHAMMAD WASEEM, “Pluralism and Democracy in Pakistan” 162 DARSHAN S. TATLA, “Sikhs in Multicultural Societies” 177 Editorial

University of Bamberg
he current thematic issue of UNESCO’s International Journal on Multicultural Societies (IJMS) addresses the governance of cultural diversity in post-colonial settings. Building directly on our debate of political integration in modern nation-states (see Vol. 5, No. 1), the contributions to this issue, which are based on a conference sponsored by the UK Economic and Social Research Council’s ‘Future Governance’ programme, attempt to broaden the agenda of policy-oriented and comparative social science research on cultural diversity by including postcolonial societies, notably South Africa, Malaysia, India, and Pakistan.

Taking into account post-colonial societies within an agenda of comparative research on diversity seems to be both challenging and promising. Challenging because, as guest editors Gurharpal Singh and John Rex argue in their thematic introduction, it requires the integration of two rather separate fields of research. Studies on ‘multiculturalism’, on the one hand, have mainly been concerned with public policies aimed at the inclusion of migrant populations into a culturally more or less homogeneous nation-state. Research on post-colonial societies has, on the other hand, predominantly addressed the conditions of social integration or cohesion in profoundly heterogeneous societies; it focused, in other words, on state-formation and nation-building in ‘plural societies’. In such contexts, contemporary discourses of multiculturalism have a rather different – and more ambiguous – meaning, as Steve Fenton demonstrates in his case study on ethnic difference in Malaysia. Harihar Bhattacharyya’s and Mohammad Waseem’s articles on constitutional politics in India and Pakistan, respectively, show that post-colonial identity politics cannot be reduced to politics of recognition but are closely linked with struggles over access to power and economic resources in postcolonial societies. Integrating these different strands of literature seems, at the same time, to be highly promising in terms of theoretical development and empirical analysis. Thus, Simon Bekker and Anne Leildé, in their analysis of the South African case, highlight the limitations of otherwise successful public policies of multiculturalism in overcoming class cleavages. Analysis of post-colonial settings, to follow Fenton’s argument, sheds some light on the limited applicability of Western discourses of ‘multiculturalism’ and on alternative modes of dealing with ethnic difference. The strongest argument in favour of cross-fertilisation between the literatures on multiculturalism and plural societies is provided by Darshan S. Tatla’s article on Sikhs in Canada, India, the United Kingdom and the United States. His analysis clearly demonstrates that contemporary migration International Journal on Multicultural Societies (IJMS), Vol. 5, No. 2, 2003: 104 -105 ISSN 1817-4574, © UNESCO 105 Matthias Koenig

constitutes a transnational social space in...

References: BEETHAM, D. 1970. Transport and Turbans: A
Comparative Study of a Migrant Community.
BENNETT, F. 1999. “The face of the state”.
CORBRIDGE, S. and HARRIS, J. 2000.
Government of India. 1984. White Paper on the
Punjab Agitation
JALAL, A. 1995. Democracy and Authoritarianism
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JOHNSTON, H. 1979. The Voyage of the
Komagata Maru: the Sikhs Challenge to
LEONARD, K. 1994. “The Punjabi Pioneer
Experience in America: Recognition or
OBEROI, H. 1993. The Construction of Religious
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POULTER, S. M. 1998. Ethnicity, Law and
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SINGH, G. 2000. Ethnic Conflict in India: A
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TATLA, D. S. 1999. The Sikh Diaspora. The
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to the Sikh diaspora and migration. He is the author of The Sikh Diaspora:
The Search for Statehood (University of Washington Press 1999) and one of the
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