Across the West, something called multiculturalism is in crisis. Regarded as the failed experiment of liberal elites, commentators and politicians compete to denounce its corrosive legacies; parallel communities threatening social cohesion, enemies within cultivated by irresponsible cultural relativism, mediaeval practices subverting national ‘ways of life’ and universal values. Muslims have been the chief beneficiary of this discredited epoch; licensed by its delusions, they have been left unsupervised, and the proliferation of ghettos, extremism and illiberal excesses is the troubling result.
This book challenges this familiar narrative of the rise and fall of multiculturalism by challenging the existence of a coherent era of ‘multiculturalism’ in the first place. Instead, what we are witnessing is not so much a rejection of multiculturalism as a rejection of lived multiculture. In documenting this mainstream racism and the anxieties that inform it, Lentin and Titley argue that the crisis is a projection of neoliberal societies’ disjunctures, a projection now obvious in fantastical discourses of integration. Combining theory with a reading of contemporary events, it examines the transnational, mediated nature of crisis, and argues that it provides activists with a chance to transcend the limitations of culturalised politics for an internationalist commitment to a resurgent anti-racism.
Book presentation by Alana Lentin (University of Sussex / ICI Berlin) and Gavan Titley (National University of Ireland Maynooth)
Response: Gary Younge, Award-winning journalist for the Guardian and The Nation and author of Who are We – and Should it Matter in the 21st Century?
Followed by a discussion
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