Multiculturalism is a project of coexistence of different ethnic, cultural and ethnic communities with different religions, languages and races. Is multiculturalism still a useful tool when talking about European society? Why (not)? What other paradigms may be useful for discussing the changing societal and demographic dynamics in modern Europe? In this essay, I will discuss three possible approaches to this pressing yet complex issue.
In the first aspect to answer this question, we begin by taking a closer look at the effects of multiculturalism in European society. There are many people who migrate to Europe because of economic reasons or civil wars etc. Multicultural societies with different forms of cultural diversity can react in different ways. We either positively influence the cultural diversity, placing ourselves into the centre of it to understand it and assert cultural respect or assimilate by blending in with the culture of the majority. The aim of multiculturalism has gained meaning on the basis of the coexistence of different religions, identities, races and all different cultures, is that all cultures live together without conflict. It is my view that immigrants can offer their knowledge and experience of their culture. The benefits being that their innovation and creativity can bring about an increase in prosperity to the country in which they live. Immigrants can enrich the cultural diversity of the area by introducing new food, music, traditions, beliefs and interests. On the other hand however, some people may not perceive it in such a positive way believing multiculturalism is not the way forward. This is on the basis of that communities naturally have different cultures and that they are being forced to coexist. The intensification of the world population from one side and the sense of sovereignty on the other hand constitute the dynamics of this process. I believe that globalisation has both positive and negative aspects. The positive being that as a result of globalization, society will have intercultural mobility and communication has become easier as a result. However with the increasing role of transnational institutions and migration, it has become impossible for there to be a pure race, nation. More so with the contribution of modernism, as this change and transformation have made it inevitable. There are some politicians in the European community who are not in favour of multiculturalism feeling cultural differences prevent adaptation and integration of ethnic groups into their local society. Immigrants who are not open to mixing with their local communities, desperate to hold on to their culture and beliefs risk excluding themselves from their community. An example of this being in 2010 German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared that integration of a multicultural society had completely failed in Germany (BBC News, 2010). According to Merkel, the notion that people from different cultures could live happily side by side was not successful given the fact that immigrants in Germany could not be integrated into German society. According to Kennan Mali’s multiculturalism criticism, Europe has allowed excessive immigration without demanding enough integration—a mismatch that has eroded social cohesion, undermined national identities, and degraded public trust. Multiculturalism’s proponents, on the other hand, counter that the problem is not too much diversity but too much racism. For example Germany’s Bielefeld University in 2005, suggested that three out of four Germans believed that Muslim culture did not fit into the Western world. Anti-Muslim groups, such as Patriotic Europeans against the Islamization of the West are on the rise, and anti-immigration protests held in cities across the country were some of the largest in recent memory. Many German politicians, including Merkel, stood firm against the anti-Muslim movement, although they believed in multiculturalism failure. But the damage has already been done.
The second aspect in answer to the question, can we focus on alternatives outside of multiculturalism and analyse current political, social and cultural change in Europe besides multiculturalism. Multicultural relations are where people stand alongside one another, but each cultural group is isolated from the other. Interculturalism presents a new set of policies and programmes. It seeks to replace multiculturalism and provide a new paradigm for thinking about race and diversity. Multiculturalism may have had some success in the past but it has simply not adapted to the new age of globalisation and super diversity. Interculturalism offers us that relinquish the old politics of identity and that rather than constantly undermine difference, we need to value what we have in common and whilst retaining our identity. It has a number of key attributes that make it well suited to addressing not only some of the key challenges that modern Britain faces, but also some of the shortcomings of earlier multicultural and community cohesion approaches. In that initiative, inter culturalism was conceived of as ‘part of our shared vision of an intercultural Europe which values human dignity, civic participation and respect for diversity as the foundation stones for socially and economically strong communities. Interculturalism has strong policy advocates in Canada and Britain. Its strongest institutional base, however, is in continental Europe. The Council of Europe has supported the Intercultural Cities Program for more than a decade. Bypassing the unproductive debates raging at the national level in many member states, this program tackles issues of cultural diversity and migrant settlement at the city level. More than 100 cities, mostly in Europe but also in Canada and Mexico, are adopting its pioneering approach. It builds on key principles already present in Australian multicultural policy. These include public recognition of diversity and difference, protection from discrimination, and consultation across perceived cultural divides. Furthermore, the concept of interculturality generally includes transculturality; interactions between cultures generally change the cultures themselves. For example, the Egyptian Coptic community in Graz, Austria, is not the same as Coptic communities in Egypt, because the people in Graz have adapted to their situation in Graz. During that time they may not have adapted to changing social and political constraints in Egypt. So it can change with time as a function of their changing situations, aspirations, constraints and intercultural interactions. So the word integration is often used in the general sense of a solution to problems of interculturalism. According to me, this integration protect to peace and show greater development in society.
The third aspect, we will compare and contrast between interculturalism and multiculturalism in Modern Europe societies. Valuing people of mixed race, nationality on an equal basis to those who claim a single identity .I am of the view that interculturalism may be a useful paradigm for Europe. Because in multiculturalism people live alongside one another, but each cultural group does not necessarily engage not interact with each other. An example being that in a multicultural society people may frequent ethnic restaurants but they may not be interacting with their neighbours from other countries. However intercultural communication focuses on the mutual exchange of ideas and cultural norms and the development of deep relationships. Interculturalism is constructed around the multifaceted nature of difference, whereas, multiculturalism was founded and remained rooted on the outmoded concept of race. Multiculturalism generally developed throughout Europe into a policy based on ethnic difference and faith divisions, some of which were identified as “racial” groups for the purposes of public policy and essentially became viewed in much the same primordial sense. And, in terms of the “failure of multiculturalism” referred to earlier, they became understood in this way. Kymlicka shares argument that interculturalism is not sufficiently different from multiculturalism to be an advance on it (2010 and 2012) but has argued that there may still be a pragmatic case for pretending otherwise. As it is clear that as some of the advocates of broadly multiculturalist policies, especially those able to influence European governments, have given up on the term “multiculturalism” in favour of “interculturalism” progressive intellectuals should consider abandoning the term “multiculturalism”. (Kymlicka 2012). In addition, it needs to be recognised that interculturalism and multiculturalism share a number of common features, including the need for the reasonable accommodation of minority beliefs and practices, and the need to tackle deeper structural inequalities and disadvantages. However, there are also some substantive differences in points of view within this debate. Some authors such as Meer and Modood argue that all of the supposedly distinctive characteristics of interculturalism are already present within some previous formulations of multiculturalism, while other authors such as Cantle and Bouchard argue that while interculturalism builds upon some important aspects of multiculturalism, they nevertheless represent two very different approaches. While a process of comparing and contrasting formulations is one way in which to examine whether or not interculturalism and multiculturalism differ, another way is that determine to is which is useful in society. Moreover, Nasar Meer and Tariq Modood have very different perspective. They argue that interculturalism is usually contrasted positively with multiculturalism in four main ways: firstly, interculturalism is more committed to interaction and dialogue than multiculturalism; secondly, interculturalism puts less emphasis on groups and group identities than multiculturalism; thirdly, interculturalism is more committed to a sense of the whole and to societal cohesion than multiculturalism; and fourthly, interculturalism is less relativistic and less tolerant of illiberal cultural practices than multiculturalism. When look at from a wide frame, interculturalism is more dominant than multiculturalism.
In my conclusion, I considered this essay by three approaches such as failed of multiculturalism, interculturalism and compare and contrast between them. Firstly, multicultural theory is fraught with contradictions of an order that make it highly unlikely that it could ever have achieved its aims. But it is the empirical evidence on multiculturalism in practice that really highlights its inadequacies. It would appear that multiculturalism has failed the people it was meant to benefit. Multiculturalism has presented contradictions in European society. I believe that one part of society felt it was positive whilst the other side perceived it to be negative. As well as, multiculturalism has its own contradictions and approaches, such as intervening in cultural groups or advocating non-intervention. There are some politicians in the European community who are not in favour of multiculturalism feeling cultural differences prevent adaptation and integration of ethnic groups into their local society.For example Merkel and Kenen Malik mention about multiculturalism like a mismatch that has eroded social cohesion, overthrow national identities, and degraded public trust. Because some minorities want to sustain their culture in host societies. When everything is taken into consideration, the alternative interculturalism is far more appealing and has a better chance of succeeding in European society as it encourages and advises that we give up the old politics of identity and it requires us to value what we have in common. Even if some authors and politicians believe that there are no major difference between multiculturalism and interculturalism, I think there is major distinctness. Interculturalism always attempt that we need to value the common thing we need instead of underlining the difference. There are so many interculturalism policy supporters in Canada and England. The idea for interculturality for the most part incorporates transculturality; acculturation between societies always transform cultures themselves. For instance, For example, the Turkish community in Germany is not the same as Turkish community in Turkey, because the people have adapted to their situation in Germany. During that time they may not have adapted to changing social and political constraints in Turkey. So it can change with time as a function of their changing situations and intercultural interactions. This is why assimilation is an important concept for minorities to peaceful coexistence. Finally, in my writing, I evaluated the concepts of multiculturalism and interculturalism in a comparative way to understand which is more useful. In view for multiculturalism, people are living together, yet all the each social bunch doesn’t so much participate not connect for one another. An example being that in a people can be in common area but they may not be interacting with their neighbours from other countries. The reality of this of course in a multicultural society may be that people may continue their lives without interacting with their neighbours from other minority communities. But intercultural communication focuses on the coexistence of ideas and cultural paradigm and the growth of deep relationship also researched the views of some philosophers, writers, researchers about multicultural and intercultural. Some authors, for example, Meer and Modood, support that every each of the alleged features of interculturalism already exists in the multicultural’s few formulation..Also same time different writers for example, Cantle and Bouchard argue that interculturalism is based on significant form of multiculturalism. Moreover, I mentioned that there is a different point of view of Meer and Modood. They argue that interculturalism based on some main ways; interculturalism is based on communication and conversation, less attention about people’s identity, importance to social integration.
So in my opinion, ıf one of the two terms is to be retained, it should be “interculturalism”. Because interculturalism shows us that renounce the old politics of identity and that rather than constantly emphasize difference, we need to value what we have in common identity. Weighing up both sides of the argument, this theme makes me think that interculturalism is well placed to balance the normative identity claims of the majority and the minorities.