Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity

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Multicultural Odysseys: Navigating the New International Politics of Diversity

By Will Kymlicka
Oxford University Press, 2007
320 pp. $35.00

Over the last half century, governments have increasingly extended rights and protections to ethnic and cultural minorities and indigenous peoples. Kymlicka, a Canadian philosopher and champion of liberal multiculturalism, views these developments as a quiet revolution in which the old model of the nation-state as a unified and homogenous whole is giving way to more diverse arrangements, fundamentally reshaping the traditional conceptions of state sovereignty, nationhood, and citizenship. He sees the international community itself increasingly embracing and spreading ideas about the importance of accommodating diversity and minority rights. The United Nations, the International Labor Organization, the World Bank, and the Council of Europe have all adopted declarations that promulgate rights for minorities, motivated by a fear of destabilizing ethnic conflict in postcolonial and postcommunist states but also by the growing appeal of multicultural justice. Kymlicka also grapples with the question of whether this revolution in minority rights constitutes a danger to universal principles of human rights and the norms of sovereignty that provide the framework for global rules and institutions.

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