Race relations, multiculturalism and integration, 1976 to the late 1990s
definition and manifestation of Britishmulticulturalism, as well as its success and longevity, have long been the topics of academic debates and disagreements, this political response is nevertheless key to understanding the development of ideas surrounding the concept of integration. 2 Furthermore, it was often Labour-led local authorities across Britain that spearheaded these multicultural policies and initiatives, which it has frequently been argued flew in the face of some segments of Thatcher’s government. 3 Throughout these decades, race relations legislation and
emphasised policy failure.28
Brian Turner has argued that Britishmulticulturalism was defined by British
liberalism (what Rorty calls liberal-culturalism); this permitted the ‘benign
neglect’ of minorities. In explaining this, Turner draws on Isaiah Berlin’s two
concepts of liberty, the distinction between negative and positive conceptions
of liberty; immigrants were generally accorded the former but were often
denied the latter.29
As defined by Berlin, negative freedom was ‘freedom from’; it existed until
someone encroached upon it, examples being freedoms of expression
Muslim integration in Britain - a theoretical and analytical framework
Immigration History of Britain: Multicultural Racism since 1800 ( Harlow : Longman , 2010 ).
47 For example, see Sally Tomlinson , Race and Education: Policy and Politics in Britain ( Maidenhead : McGraw-Hill Open University Press , 2008 ); Ken Clark and Stephen Drinkwater , ‘ Recent trends in minority ethnic entrepreneurship in Britain ’, International Small Business Journal , 28 : 2 ( 2010 ), 136 – 46 ; and Deborah Phillips , ‘ Claiming spaces: British Muslim negotiations of urban citizenship in an era of new migration ’, Transactions of the
Kenan Malik, quoted in Meer, N. and Modood, T., “The Multicultural State We're In: Muslims, ‘Multiculture’ and the ‘Civic Re-Balancing’ of BritishMulticulturalism,” Political Studies 57 (2009): 487.
Quoted in ibid.
University of Essex
have to realise, that the society that even your deepest feelings can be toddled upon, is the only society worth living in. And the sooner we can
learn that, the sooner that Islam can learn that within Europe, the better.12
Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron practically emphasised the same in
his important statement in Munich, February 2011, that Britishmulticulturalism has failed because Britain has turned into a community of communities with
very little shared between them. Multiculturalism – in practice toleration, even
encouragement of the existence of
attack their own country, and the attackers’ faith and ethnicity were scrutinised. A lack of shared values and the failure of multiculturalism shouldered the blame. Meer and Modood note this trend, arguing it is the ‘coupling of diversity and anti-terrorism agendas that has implicated contemporary Britishmulticulturalism as the culprit of Britain’s security woes’ ( 2009 , p. 481). Multiculturalism had failed, and a new approach to security and diversity was needed – and shared values fitted the bill.
The challenge, however, with seeing shared values as a solution to
populations and second- and
third-generation Muslim communities, the disturbances led to a critique of
the current state of Britishmulticulturalism. It was argued, most notably
in a Home Office report led by Professor Ted Cantle, that different ethnic
communities had become ‘segregated’, lacking any common identity, with the
authors ‘particularly struck by the depth of polarisation of our towns and
cities’ (Home Office, 2001a : 9). Different
communities living in the same city were, it was claimed, living ‘parallel