By Will Kymlicka
Many post-communist international locations in Central/Eastern Europe and the previous Soviet Union are being inspired, certainly careworn, via Western international locations to enhance their remedy of ethnic and nationwide minorities and to undertake Western versions of minority rights. yet what are those Western versions? Will they paintings in japanese Europe? right here, Will Kymlicka describes a version of Western "liberal pluralism," discussing what will be concerned about adopting it within the East. this is often through commentaries from activists concerned about minority rights' concerns, either as practitioners and as lecturers, and Kymlicka's replies to their analyses. bound to curiosity a person keen on ethnic clash, this quantity will spark dialogue between all these suffering over the query of no matter if Western liberal values can or might be promoted within the remainder of the area.
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Extra info for Can Liberal Pluralism Be Exported?: Western Political Theory and Ethnic Relations in Eastern Europe
To my mind, this demand has two basic elements: (a) we need to recognize that integration does not occur overnight, but is a difficult and long-term process which operates intergenerationally. This means that special accommodations are often required for immigrants on a transitional basis. For example, certain services should be available in the immigrants' mother tongue, and support should be provided for those organizations and groups within immigrant communities which assist in the settlement and integration process; (b) we need to ensure that the common institutions into which immigrants are pressured to integrate provide the same degree of respect, recognition, and accommodation of the identities and practices of ethnocultural minorities as they traditionally provided for the dominant group.
For example, Britain has recently adopted a quasi-federal system of devolution to Scotland and Wales, which now have their own legislative assemblies. And while Puerto Rico is not part of the American federal system—that is, it is not one of the fifty states—it has a special self-governing status within the United States as a 'Commonwealth'. Similarly, while Italy and Finland are not federations, they have adopted special forms of territorial autonomy for the German-speakers in South Tyrol; and for the Swedes in the Aland Islands.
Just as liberalism precludes the establishment of an official religion, so too there cannot be official cultures that have preferred status over other possible cultural allegiances. For example, Michael Walzer argues that liberalism involves a 'sharp divorce of state and ethnicity'. The liberal state stands above all the various ethnic and national groups in the country, 'refusing to endorse or support their ways of life or to take an active interest in their social reproduction'. Instead, the state is 'neutral with reference to language, history, literature, calendar' of these groups.