The So Called Failure of Multiculturalism : A Securitization Approach

Wednesday, June 26, 2013
2.22 (Binnengasthuis)
Jocelyne Cesari , Harvard University
 In the 1970s and 80s, multicultural policies in Europe aimed to create more interdependence and communality between different cultural groups. Since 9/11, these policies have come under critique to the point that multiculturalism refers now to  institutionalization of difference and creation of separated communities. It is closely related with the rise of a values-centered liberalism which pitches itself against the recognition of cultural diversity  as expressed for example, by  David Cameron, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom on February 5, 2011 when he blamed “State multiculturalism” for a “weakening of our collective identity”.

This paper intends to analyze this political shift through the lens of securitization theories.  It will depart however from the dominant securitization approach by analyzing not only discourses but also policies and concrete measures which are not directly related to terrorism, such as integration policies. It will show that the focus of these new policies is to preserve liberal values against the threat of alien values often associated to immigrant Muslims.  It will also highlight that this change in focus does not systematically reflect the socio political reality of minorities and immigrant groups. The argument will be built on a study conducted in the UK and the Netherlands.