This book is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the roots, current debates and future development of social theory. It draws together a team of outstanding international scholars, and presents an authoritative and panoramic critical survey of the field. The volume is divided into three parts. The first part examines the classical tradition. Included here are critical discussions of Comte, Spencer, Marx, Durkheim, Weber, Simmel, Mead, Freud, Mannheim and classical feminist thought. This part conveys the classical tradition as a living resource in social theory, it demonstrates not only the critical significance of classical writings, but their continuing relevance. The second part moves on t
Chapter 23: Multiculturalism
The Word ‘Multiculturalism’
‘Multiculturalism’—the term is among the most confusing and misused in the language of social theory. ‘Multiculturalism’ confuses because it makes obstinate reference to two things at once—reality and a theory of reality. The same has been said (Lemert, 1997) of another troublemaker of this sort, ‘postmodernism’, with which ‘multiculturalism’ is often, usually incorrectly, taken as a cognate of some kind.
Though there is a close lexical kinship, the two terms are separated by an important semantic space arising upon their different conjunctions of attributes. ‘Postmodernism’, when used naively, is thought to be ‘nothing more’ than a theoretical term. It is true, of course, that the word may be used as the name for a kind of theory. But this is properly done only ...