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The backlash against multiculturalism
Shailja Sharma

sphere (Bauman, 1991; Habermas, 1992; Schnapper, 2002). Lately there has been a demand to discard or radically revise state multiculturalism as traditionally practised and to recognize, not just tolerate, new religious identities. This has upset the status quo accommodation of ethnic identities and changed the traditional political left/right divisions in European politics. What is being challenged here, through culture, is the historical identity of the nation itself. Nation versus state In Britain, multiculturalism has been officially accepted since the 1970s as a

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Shailja Sharma

the twenty-first century, the shrinking of the welfare state combined with the “war on terrorism” has effected a change in both official and popular attitudes towards minorities that threatens to eradicate the hard-won gains of the last three decades. Hybridity, in late-twentieth-century Europe, had worked well with the policies of “multiculturalism”, which acted as (safe) discourses about race. For example, in Britain, multiculturalism (as state policy)1 and hybridity (as identity) had become part of the state’s apparatus in “dealing with” its minorities. This also

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Islam and the contestation of citizenship
Shailja Sharma

United States and 7 July 2005 in London led to a rollback of some of these gains. Both events provoked questions anew about Islam and Britishness, with some on the right debating Muslims’ ability to coexist, some questioning whether British multiculturalism had led to a lack of integration and others insisting that violence wasn’t a natural part of Islam. Two organizations in the 1990s, one independent and one governmental, were central to the public debate that accompanied this change. The Runnymede Trust, a research and public policy agency established in 1968 and

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France
Women as citizens
Shailja Sharma

’s authority. Britain, on the other hand, sees a commitment to “liberty” as the defining quality of national identity. British leaders and academics as diverse as Gordon Brown, the former prime minister, and historian Linda Colley have unanimously identified love of liberty as a cornerstone of British values (Joppke, Women as citizens175 2009). Regarding the split between public and private spheres, the British have championed the cause of non-statism and autonomy of action and belief within the private sphere over the centralized statist policies of France. British

in Postcolonial minorities in Britain and France