The crisis of multiculturalism in Europe A history

Rita C-K Chin, 1970-

Book - 2017

"From the influx of immigrants in the 1950s to contemporary worries about refugees and terrorism, The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe examines the historical development of multiculturalism on the Continent. Rita Chin argues that there were few efforts to institute state-sponsored policies of multiculturalism, and those that emerged were pronounced failures virtually from their inception. She shows that today's crisis of support for cultural pluralism isn't new but actually h...as its roots in the 1980s. Chin looks at the touchstones of European multiculturalism, from the urgent need for laborers after World War II to the public furor over the publication of The Satanic Verses and the question of French girls wearing headscarves to school. While many Muslim immigrants had lived in Europe for decades, in the 1980s they came to be defined by their religion and the public's preoccupation with gender relations. Acceptance of sexual equality became the critical gauge of Muslims' compatibility with Western values. The convergence of left and right around the defense of such personal freedoms against a putatively illiberal Islam has threatened to undermine commitment to pluralism as a core ideal. Chin contends that renouncing the principles of diversity brings social costs, particularly for the left, and she considers how Europe might construct an effective political engagement with its varied population." -- from publisher web site.

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Subjects
Published
Princeton : Princeton University Press [2017]
Language
English
Physical Description
xiv, 363 pages ; 23 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 307-346) and index.
ISBN
9780691164267
0691164266
Main Author
Rita C-K Chin, 1970- (author)
  • The multicultural and multiculturalism
  • The birth of multicultural Europe
  • Managing multicultural societies
  • Race, nation, and multicultural society
  • Muslim women, sexual democracy, and the defense of freedom
  • The "failure" of multiculturalism
  • The future of multicultural Europe?
Review by Library Journal Reviews

Chin (The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany) explores the history and issues surrounding immigrants and multiculturalism in post-World War II Europe. Although the title implies a wider view, the analysis mainly covers the UK, Germany, France, and occasionally the Netherlands. Chin argues that multiculturalism began in earnest in Europe after World War II, when immigration was encouraged as a way to rebuild. However, the influx and subsequent settlement of immigrants exacerbated preexisting cultural and racial tensions. Great Britain, Germany, and France then created policies which contributed to the integration (or lack thereof) of minority communities into the existing population. Questions of nationality, identity, and citizenship run throughout the book, and Chin also interrogates the degree to which cultural differences act as an explanation for failed integration. The focus is on Muslim immigrants in particular, with the author presenting modern-day examples, such as the controversy over girls wearing head scarves in France and the publication of Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses in the UK, to illustrate the countries' responses to a growing Muslim population. Finally, Chin considers the lasting legacy and future of multiculturalism. VERDICT A thoughtful explanation of the issues surrounding multiculturalism in three large European countries. Recommended for scholarly audiences.—Rebekah Kati, Durham, NC Copyright 2017 Library Journal.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

A history professor at the University of Michigan, Chin (The Guest Worker Question in Postwar Germany) has produced a well-researched and readable study of policies toward immigrant communities in Great Britain, France, and, to a lesser extent, Germany, from immediately after WWII to the present. Hers is largely a top-down study of political leaders, with relatively little information on popular attitudes. She traces varied uses of the word multiculturalism, never settling on a single definition, and contrasts policies that respected and fostered cultural pluralism in Britain with France's insistence on minorities adopting and adapting to French national identity. Initially, immigrants in both countries came largely from former colonies that had recently gained or were fighting for independence. In Germany, immigrants were at first thought of as temporary "guest workers," but often set down roots after being joined by their families. Chin clearly explains how the key consideration for policy makers shifted from their countries' economic conditions to fear of radical Islam. This trend started with the 1989 fatwa against Salman Rushdie and took full effect after 9/11 and the July 2005 London attacks. In a fine concluding chapter Chin notes flaws both in versions of "multiculturalism" that foster a view of ethnic communities as homogenous and in the exclusion of immigrant minorities from national narratives. (Aug.) Copyright 2017 Publisher Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A history of modern European cultural pluralism, its current crisis, and its uncertain futureIn 2010, the leaders of Germany, Britain, and France each declared that multiculturalism had failed in their countries. Over the past decade, a growing consensus in Europe has voiced similar decrees. But what do these ominous proclamations, from across the political spectrum, mean? From the influx of immigrants in the 1950s to contemporary worries about refugees and terrorism, The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe examines the historical development of multiculturalism on the Continent. Rita Chin argues that there were few efforts to institute state-sponsored policies of multiculturalism, and those that emerged were pronounced failures virtually from their inception. She shows that today's crisis of support for cultural pluralism isn't new but actually has its roots in the 1980s.Chin looks at the touchstones of European multiculturalism, from the urgent need for laborers after World War II to the public furor over the publication of The Satanic Verses and the question of French girls wearing headscarves to school. While many Muslim immigrants had lived in Europe for decades, in the 1980s they came to be defined by their religion and the public's preoccupation with gender relations. Acceptance of sexual equality became the critical gauge of Muslims' compatibility with Western values. The convergence of left and right around the defense of such personal freedoms against a putatively illiberal Islam has threatened to undermine commitment to pluralism as a core ideal. Chin contends that renouncing the principles of diversity brings social costs, particularly for the left, and she considers how Europe might construct an effective political engagement with its varied population.Challenging the mounting opposition to a diverse society, The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe presents a historical investigation into one continent's troubled relationship with cultural difference.