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The Crises of Multiculturalism Hardcover – 14 Jul 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 212 pages
  • Publisher: Zed Books Ltd (14 July 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848135807
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848135802
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley offer a powerful and persuasive account of how multiculturalism has been sentenced to death. Drawing on a vast array of sources, voices and examples, they show how laments on the failure of multiculturalism create a political and affective landscape in which racism is simultaneously repudiated and reproduced. A necessary and important book.' - Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College 'This book provides a rich and scholarly analysis of the multiple forces at play in the construction of the 'death of multiculturalism' as a flexible and potent political discourse. Incisive and provocative in it's analysis; it is uncomfortable reading for those on both the left and right in politics. This is necessary reading for anyone concerned with the complex masking of racism within the rhetorical dance of national identities and globalized neo-liberal ideologies. - Professor Charles Husband, Centre for Applied Social Research, University of Bradford. 'The Crises of Multiculturalism critically examines the entanglements inherent in the broad range of European multiculturalisms today, their "loud" rejection and yet a melancholic neediness expressed in their bemoaning. The analysis is especially incisive about the ways in which an "era of integration," as multiculturalism's contemporary expression, seeks insecurely to assert authoritative control and security in the face of threatening and fearful expressions of a burgeoning multiculture supposedly marking European nations. The authors reveal how the politics of multiculturalism continue to structure, reproduce, and render less visible contemporary racisms.Those concerned to understand the synchrony of multiculturalism, integration, and revitalized racisms across the European landscape would do well to consult this book.' - Professor David Theo Goldberg, University of California

About the Author

Alana Lentin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Sussex, UK. Gavan Titley is Lecturer in the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By K. Withnail on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is an astounding piece of scholarship.
Every page is crammed with pin-point analysis of nearly every single book on the topic. Check their bibliography - it's twenty-four pages long. Yes, it's dense, yes, its arguments are heavily nuanced and complex. But of course it is - this is a field that for the last twenty years has been steadily dominated by staid, lumpen critiques with the simplicity of a housebrick, as the authors themselves say in the first chapter, where they state that the complexity of the book is a deliberate, considered response to this.
And frankly it is far more readable than the absurd caricature of the below review suggests, whose author has purposefully picked what they found the most difficulty with to quote. There are some scintillating sentences in this book, not only readable, but with the weight of scholarship behind them, positively uplifting. Consider "...the primary 'recited truth' of crisis politics: that 'race' is a fiction, and racism, when it is discussed is dismissed as a fraught, accusatory moralism", or "The progressive yardsticks waved at migrants, who are always already presumed backward, belies the fact that there are few Western states whose legal practices and clusters of dominant opinion are as liberal as their rhetoric when it comes to feminism and LGBT rights.".
I have yet to find a serious argument advanced about multiculturalism that is not dealt with capably and concisely in this book. It is one of the best pieces of work about the subject that I have ever read, and certainly in the last twenty years. Lentin and Titley should feel very proud of themselves - this is essential reading, indeed a definitive work.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Genie on 24 Feb. 2013
Format: Paperback
Multiculturalism has come under increasing attack in the past two decades. It began with a backlash against affirmative action in the US in the 1990s, and intensified after 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks in Europe. Now it's routine to see multiculturalist excess derided and mocked.

In this book, Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley do a good job of charting the process, and also exposing the true reasons for it. Multiculturalism is a straw man, the authors argue. Despite what you read all the time in outraged newspaper columns, there was never a concerted government policy to promote other cultures or encourage difference.

The current threats, too, are overblown. When the French Parliament voted to ban the burka, only 0.1% of Muslim women wore it. When Switzerland banned the construction of minarets, there were only four in the whole country, and they were already prohibited from issuing a call to prayer. Yet a Swiss MP still warned that minarets could lead to sharia law in Switzerland, with "honour killings, forced marriages, circumcision, wearing the burka, ignoring school rules, and even stoning."

Attacking multiculturalism is also used as a covert way of expressing racist opinions in societies where overt racism is no longer acceptable in the mainstream. So when Sarkozy attacks the Roma and links rising crime with immigrant "scum", it's apparently not racist, but merely a reaction against the politically correct excesses of liberal multiculturalism. Lentin and Titley do a good job of tracing in detail how thin the division is between race and culture, and how racism can often be smuggled in under the guise of legitimate cultural criticism.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Miss N. Doshi on 7 Feb. 2012
Format: Paperback
The Crises of Multiculturalism tells the rise of Islamophobia, conveniently disguised by the left and right as the failings of 'multiculturalism'. With references to Britain's internal race politics, the tail ends of the Cold War, 9/11 all the way until present - Lentin and Titley detail how "liberalism" has appropriated the grounds of "liberation", pushing the identity politics out of the political mainstream. Racism and xenophobia are back in the ballgame, but on the most part, it's covert and illicit.

I wouldn't suggest you pick up this book if you're looking for a quick read, a simple narrative or pop-politics. The book is dense, woven through-out with compelling evidence and powerful. It would have been nice to have had fewer references and quotations across the book (it reads as an academic text) but other than that, I strongly recommend that policy-makers give this a good look. A few of us will be up in arms about these issues pretty soon if you don't.

The only question I'm left asking is: Why isn't there more about this in mainstream writing? I do hope Lentin and Titley write something for the masses too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By shel ley on 14 Mar. 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is one of the most informative and thoughtful analysis on the so-called demise of multiculturalism which exists in current scholarship. Its strength is that it asks what people talk about when they talk about multiculturalism, thereby dismantling the hidden assumptions and agenda behind the rhetoric. The book's main arguments are that multiculturalism is a term which is used for different ideological purposes and political aims by different actors and that there has never been such a thing as a coherent concept of multiculturalism. Rather it is already a lived reality. The authors show in convincing detail that the claims of the failure of multiculturalism is directly linked with a rise in racism and its legitimation. The trend towards colour-blindness (what the authors coin as post-racism) justifies racism in that it denies it exists by precluding the very possibility of forming an autonomous and different identity by non-white citizens. The analysis and argument is bolstered by meticulous detail to the rich existing scholarship on race and multiculturalism, the scope and depth of which is impressive. This book represents the sorely needed background analysis to the superficial media reports on multiculturalism and an authoritative introduction to scholarship on race and migration. Highly recommended.
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