from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The articles multiculturalism and multicultural society overlap thematically. Help me to better differentiate or merge the articles (→  instructions ) . To do this, take part in the relevant redundancy discussion . Please remove this module only after the redundancy has been completely processed and do not forget to include the relevant entry on the redundancy discussion page{{ Done | 1 = ~~~~}}to mark. Kolja21 ( discussion ) 02:47, Jan. 5, 2016 (CET)

Multiculturalism (usually derogatory and multi-cultural or multicultural ) is the generic term for a number of social philosophy theories with action implications for social policy of a state.


In a purely descriptive way, multiculturalism describes the presence of several (Latin: multus ) cultures in one room. Often multiculturalism also has a normative usage, according to which people belonging to different cultures should live together without assimilation. According to this conception of the term, multiculturalism emerges as a political concept for the protection and recognition of cultural differences: "Multiculturalism is the idea that people should be treated differently, not despite their differences, but differently because of these differences" " .

In liberal multiculturalism , cultural differentiation only takes place in the private sphere, while efforts are made to design the public space in a neutral way and instead of highlighting the existing similarities (e.g. with regard to economic interests or politics).

The theories of multiculturalism are just as opposed to the idea of ​​a dominant national culture as to the idea of ​​the melting pot , which is widespread in the USA , which assumes an alignment of different cultures and the resulting development of a common, national culture.

The goal of the multicultural society

The aim of multiculturalism is a multicultural society in which there should be no state or non-state incentive or “pressure” to assimilate . The ethnic and cultural groups, however, should exist individually. This model is based on the postulate that the (members of) the respective ethnic groups show each other understanding, respect, tolerance and can see each other as equal. Canada is often cited as a positive example of the implementation of multiculturalism.

Target groups

Most ethnic groups , such as the French-speaking population of Canada, or religious groups are seen as target groups of multicultural politics, rarely other groups such as genders or groups that are delimited by the sexual orientation of their members. In general, however, it is simply about culturally diverse groups of all kinds.

Opposing positions

Criticism of multiculturalism has come from a variety of circles, including supporters of the concept of transculturality . In the context of critical multiculturalism , the basic assumption of multiculturalism that ethnic affiliation would represent the most important category of identification for members of society is questioned in view of the multiple affiliations to different groups that are not only ethnically marked ( multicollectivity ).

One of the first to take a critical look at the idea of ​​multiculturalism was the left-wing liberal US historian and close friend of the Kennedy family, Arthur M. Schlesinger . In his book " The Disuniting of America - Reflections on a Multicultural Society " (1991) he stated with Blick u. a. the “inherent fragility of multi-ethnic society” on the then looming war in Yugoslavia and on the secession movements in Spain ( Catalonia ), Great Britain ( Scotland ), Belgium ( Flanders ) and other countries. The basic question of the approaching 20th and 21st centuries is: “What happens when people of different ethnic origins, who speak different languages ​​and practice different religions, live together in the same geographical region and under the same political authority? If they are not united by a common goal, ethnic hostility will drive them apart. Ethnic and racial conflicts, it seems certain, will from now on determine the conflict of ideologies as the explosive problem of our time ”. Similarly, Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the founder and first head of the Frankfurt “Office for Multicultural Affairs”, pointed out the considerable potential for conflict in a multicultural society if this is not countered preventively: “The multicultural society is tough, fast, cruel and shows little solidarity, it is characterized by considerable social imbalances (...) “This was soon taken up by the conservative side - for example by the then Bavarian Prime Minister Edmund Stoiber in his government declaration on December 8, 1994. Many opponents of multiculturalism see it as a failure.

Former British Prime Minister David Cameron also takes this position. In his speech at the Munich Security Conference on February 5, 2011, he identified segregation and separatism as key issues behind the threat of Islamist extremism and advocated a “common national identity” to replace “the doctrine of state multiculturalism”. As a consequence, he called for “active and strong liberalism” and announced the cessation of state funding for Islamist organizations promoting terrorism .

The Berlin political scientist and Islamic scholar Ralph Ghadban declares the ideology of multiculturalism to be incompatible with the basic principles of a free and human rights-oriented society: “The ideology of multiculturalism comes from the philosopher Charles Taylor . His thesis: Liberal individualism leads to the fact that man pursues the satisfaction of his needs and becomes alienated and amoral by the consumer world. That can be corrected by resorting to old structures, namely the community, which provides an authentic identity and good morality. This goes hand in hand with restrictions on individual freedom, but leads to the abolition of alienation . Taylor uses a Marxist terminology, which he however totally transforms. I am of the opinion that multiculturalism is not a left, but a reactionary ideology, directed against liberal individualism ”. Emphasizes the importance of human rights as a constitutional basis for democracy; multiculturalism, on the other hand, lacks a common basis.

After comparable positions by Chancellor Angela Merkel , the former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the former Prime Ministers of Australia and Spain, John Howard and José María Aznar , who criticize multiculturalism for being an obstacle to success in the integration of immigrants, the On February 11, 2011 the Vatican also entered the debate: As President of the Pontifical Cultural Council , Curial Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi also declared the model of multiculturalism to have failed, instead spoke out in favor of interculturality and announced an official Vatican document on this.

The Rostock ancient historian Egon Flaig criticized the concept of multiculturalism in a conversation with the blog of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit : “Multiculturalism is only represented by the so-called left in liberal societies. Outside of these societies there is and never has been multiculturalism ”. Wherever multiculturalism declares the "equality" and the "proper law" of all cultures and does not recognize a cross-cultural consensus of values ​​- such as the standard of universal human rights - Flaig also sees "left" multiculturalism in the vicinity of "right" ethnopolitical ideas of the “ Apartheid ” of inviolable cultural entities with their respective categories of values ​​and morals: “If every culture had the absolute right to determine what is a crime and what is not, regardless of universal values, then Auschwitz would no longer be a crime”. The German-Syrian political scientist Bassam Tibi argues in a similar way with regard to Muslim immigration to Europe: “For example, cultural relativists tend to reject the fundamentalist demand for the Sharia to apply to Muslims living in Europe in the sense of multicultural tolerance as the 'presentation' of another To allow culture ”. The “inner peace in societies in which there are waves of migration”, however, “depends on the affirmation of an order based on a commitment to values”.

Term "multicultural"

The political catchphrase multicultural is sometimes also used in debates to disparagingly comment on an assumed or actual multiculturalist ideology of the counterpart.

See also


  • Imke Leicht: Multiculturalism put to the test. Culture, Identity and Difference in Modern Immigration Societies. Metropol Verlag, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-940938-43-5 .
  • Heiner Bielefeldt : Human Rights in the Immigration Society. Plea for an enlightened multiculturalism. Transcript, Bielefeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-89942-720-2 .
  • Andrew Cardozo, Louis Musto (Eds.): The Battle over Multiculturalism. Volume 1. PSI, Ottawa 1997, ISBN 0-9681458-0-9 .
  • Will Kymlicka : Multiculturalism and Democracy. About minorities in states and nations. Edited by Otto Kallscheuer. Rotbuch, Hamburg 1999, ISBN 3-434-53046-0 .
  • Stefan Luft: Farewell to multiculturalism: ways out of the integration crisis. Graefelfing 2007, ISBN 978-3-935197-46-5 .
  • Stefan Luft / Peter Schirmany: Integration of immigrants. Experiences, concepts, perspectives. Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2010, ISBN 978-3-8376-1438-1 .
  • Alf Mintzel: Multicultural Societies in Europe and North America: Concepts, Issues, Analyzes, Findings. Rothe, Passau 1997.
  • Bhikhu Parekh: The Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain: Report of the Commission on the Future of Multi-Ethnic Britain. Profile Books, 2000, ISBN 1-86197-227-X .
  • Uli Sanwald, Stefan Stautner-Bhuruth: The world should recover with German multiculturalism. In: Games without borders. Verbrecher, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-935843-39-9 .
  • Axel Schulte: Multicultural society: opportunity, ideology or threat? In: From Politics and Contemporary History , B 23–24 / 1990.
  • Friedhelm Steffens: Integration and Segregation Patterns of Turkish Migrants. People in the field of tension between tradition and modernity. The Ford employees in Cologne. Kovac, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-8300-3736-1 .
  • Charles Taylor : Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition. With comments from Amy Gutmann, Steven C. Rockefeller, Michael Walzer, and Susan Wolf. With a contribution by Jürgen Habermas. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main 1993, ISBN 3-10-076704-7 .
  • Bassam Tibi : Europe without Identity? The crisis of the multicultural society. Bertelsmann, Munich 1998, ISBN 3-570-00169-5 (new editions 2000/2002 with the subtitle Leitkultur oder Wertebeliebigkeit , new edition 2016 with the subtitle Europeanization or Islamization ).
  • The Hegemony of Multiculturalism. A Comment on Will Kymlicka's Theory of Nationalism . ( Memento of January 10, 2006 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 211 kB; 16 pages) Croatian Political Science Review, 38 (5), 2002, pp. 48–61 (Critique of Kymlicka's influential theory (English).

Web links

Wiktionary: Multiculturalism  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: Multicultural  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Wiktionary: multikulti  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. ^ H. Bielefeldt: Human rights in the immigration society: Plea for an enlightened multiculturalism . Transcript, Bielefeld 2007, p. 20.
  2. Jürgen Bolten: Introduction to intercultural business communication . Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 2007, ISBN 978-3-8252-2922-1 , p. 133 .
  3. a b Frank Beyer villages: Multicultural Society . LIT Verlag, Münster 2004, p. 49 .
  4. ^ Ruud Koopmans: Assimilation or multiculturalism ?: Conditions for successful integration . LIT Verlag, Münster 2017.
  5. This is the formulation of the British publicist Kenan Malik , quoted from Thierry Chervel: Das Schinkenbrot . , November 23, 2017, essay
  6. Birgit Rommelspacher: Recognition and Exclusion - Germany as a Multicultural Society . Campus Verlag, Frankfurt 2002, p. 181 .
  7. ^ Geissler Rainer: Multiculturalism in Canada - Model for Germany? | APuZ. Retrieved July 1, 2020 .
  8. Audre Lorde: Age, Race, Class and Sex: Women Redefining Difference. In: Audre Lorde: Sister Outsider. The Crossing Press, Freedom CA 1984, pp. 114-123.
  9. Birgit Rommelspacher: Recognition and Exclusion - Germany as a multicultural society . Campus Verlag, Frankfurt 2002, p. 185 .
  10. Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr .: " The Disuniting of America - Reflections on a Multicultural Society, " WWNorton, New York, 1991; Preface, p. 10 (own translation); Internet reference for the Engl. Original quote (the book itself has long been out of print)
  11. ^ Office for Multicultural Affairs
  12. In an article in Die Zeit , together with Thomas Schmid : When the West becomes irresistible . In: Die Zeit , No. 48/1991
  13. See Harald Ermisch: Protection of minorities in the Basic Law? The political discussion about the protection of ethnic minorities in the FRG within the deliberations of the joint constitutional commission of the Bundestag and Bundesrat. LIT, Berlin / Hamburg / Münster 2000, p. 37 ( Google books ).
  14. For example, the Bremen political scientist Stefan Luft in his book Farewell to Multikulti. Resch, Graefelfing 2006.
  15. According to Merkel, Cameron also says that multiculturalism has failed ( Memento from February 11, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  16. Cameron: Multiculturalism is a cause of extremism ( Memento from January 18, 2012 in the Internet Archive )
  17. PM's speech at Munich Security Conference ( Memento from February 5, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  18. a b In: Islamic scholar Ralph Ghadban: When women rebel, the clans disintegrate , Interview with the Berliner Zeitung , Nov. 4, 2019
  19. AFP: Multiculturalism has failed, says French president ( Memento from February 15, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  20. Intercultural duet: Vatican declares “multiculturalism” to have failed ( Memento from July 30, 2012 in the web archive )
  21. “Multiculturalism Leads to Civil War” - conversation with Prof. Flaig III ( Memento from June 11, 2008 in the Internet Archive ), Die Zeit , June 9, 2008.
  22. Flaig, ibid.
  23. Bassam Tibi: “Europe without Identity? Leading culture or arbitrary values ​​”. Bertelsmann 1998 / Goldmann 2001 / ibidem 2016, p. 159 ff.