The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age

The Crises of Multiculturalism: Racism in a Neoliberal Age


By (author) Alana Lentin, By (author) Gavan Titley


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  • Publisher: ZED BOOKS LTD
  • Format: Paperback | 296 pages
  • Dimensions: 138mm x 212mm x 22mm | 381g
  • Publication date: 15 July 2011
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1848135815
  • ISBN 13: 9781848135819
  • Sales rank: 161,820

Product description

Across the West, something called multiculturalism is in crisis. Regarded as the failed experiment of liberal elites, commentators and politicians compete to denounce its corrosive legacies; parallel communities threatening social cohesion, enemies within cultivated by irresponsible cultural relativism, mediaeval practices subverting national 'ways of life' and universal values. This important new book challenges this familiar narrative of the rise and fall of multiculturalism by challenging the existence of a coherent era of 'multiculturalism' in the first place. The authors argue that what we are witnessing is not so much a rejection of multiculturalism as a rejection of lived multiculture. In documenting mainstream racism and the anxieties that inform it, Lentin and Titley argue that the crisis is a projection of neoliberal societies' disjunctures. Combining theory with a reading of contemporary events, it examines the transnational, mediated nature of crisis itself, and argues challenging this notion provides activists with a chance to transcend resurgent racism.

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Author information

Alana Lentin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sociology, University of Sussex, UK. Gavan Titley is Lecturer in the School of English, Media and Theatre Studies, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland.

Review quote

'Alana Lentin and Gavan Titley offer a powerful and persuasive account of how multiculturalism has been sentenced to death. Drawing on a vast array of sources, voices and examples, they show how laments on the failure of multiculturalism create a political and affective landscape in which racism is simultaneously repudiated and reproduced. A necessary and important book.' - Sara Ahmed, Professor of Race and Cultural Studies, Goldsmiths College 'This book provides a rich and scholarly analysis of the multiple forces at play in the construction of the 'death of multiculturalism' as a flexible and potent political discourse. Incisive and provocative in it's analysis; it is uncomfortable reading for those on both the left and right in politics. This is necessary reading for anyone concerned with the complex masking of racism within the rhetorical dance of national identities and globalized neo-liberal ideologies. - Professor Charles Husband, Centre for Applied Social Research, University of Bradford. 'The Crises of Multiculturalism critically examines the entanglements inherent in the broad range of European multiculturalisms today, their "loud" rejection and yet a melancholic neediness expressed in their bemoaning. The analysis is especially incisive about the ways in which an "era of integration," as multiculturalism's contemporary expression, seeks insecurely to assert authoritative control and security in the face of threatening and fearful expressions of a burgeoning multiculture supposedly marking European nations. The authors reveal how the politics of multiculturalism continue to structure, reproduce, and render less visible contemporary racisms.Those concerned to understand the synchrony of multiculturalism, integration, and revitalized racisms across the European landscape would do well to consult this book.' - Professor David Theo Goldberg, University of California

Table of contents

Preface, by Gary Younge Introduction and acknowledgments 1: Recited truths: the contours of multicultural crisis The new certainties Recited truths The comforts of crisis The recited truths of (British) multiculturalism: a rough guide Species of blowback The long unsettled settlement 2: Let's talk about your culture: post-race, post-racism Introduction: 'race is irrelevant, but all is race' Reflections on Reflections: Can Europe be Racialized with Cultural People in it? The apparatus of race No race, no power, new problems An era of post-racialism The ascent of culture The fault-lines of postracialism 3: Free like me: the polyphony of liberal postracialism From evil to relativism In the mirror, through the looking glass Liberal populism, and populist liberalism Europe's prime multicultural experiment The new realism Liberal populism, and populist liberalism The polyphony of 'identity liberalism' 4: Mediating the crisis: circuits of belief Mediated minarets From integration debates to integration events The diminishing returns of honesty and openness Genres of event Something rotten, etc, etc Recited truths, circuits of belief Petri-dish cities Coda: on critics 5: Good and bad diversity: the shape of neoliberal racisms Introduction: Pragmatic, elastic, ubiquitous Analysing contamination Racy: racial neoliberalism and the privatization of race Privatizing racism The promise, and problem of diversity Love diversity, hate racism Diversity politics, and the politics of diversity Conclusion: the burka as bad diversity and governmental event 6: On one more condition: the politics of integration today Introduction The rise of domopolitics Integrating the Sexual Nation Not free enough: sexual repression as a barrier to integration References and bibliography