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Authenticity, Autonomy and Multiculturalism

Brings together a distinguished group of philosophers, political theorists, and anthropologists to explore the role that the idea of 'authenticity' plays in the recognition and accommodation of cultural minorities and their practices. Discussing a wide range of illustrative cases and controversies drawn from Britain and continental Europe, North America, Australia, and the Middle East, this book moves beyond abstract discussion to consider also the practical and public policy implications of the putative authenticity of autonomous persons and of cultural practices.


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Book Information

Publisher: Routledge
Publish Date: 05/20/2015
Pages: 212
ISBN-13: 9781138845213
ISBN-10: 1138845213
Language: English

Full Description

The concept of authenticity enters multicultural politics in three distinct but interrelated senses: as an ideal of individual and group identity that commands recognition by others; as a condition of individuals' autonomy that bestows legitimacy on their values, beliefs and preferences as being their own; and as a form of cultural pedigree that bestows legitimacy on particular beliefs and practices (commonly called cultural authenticity). In each case, the authenticity idea is called on to anchor or legitimate claims to some kind of public recognition. The considerable work asked of this concept raises a number of vital questions: Should authenticity be accorded the importance it holds in multicultural politics? Do its pitfalls outweigh its utility? Is the notion of authenticity avoidable in making sense of and evaluating cultural claims? Or does it, perhaps, need to be rethought or recalibrated?

Geoffrey Brahm Levey and his distinguished group of philosophers, political theorists, and anthropologists challenge conventional assumptions about authenticity that inform liberal responses to minority cultural claims in Western democracies today. Discussing a wide range of cases drawn from Britain and continental Europe, North America, Australia and the Middle East, they press beyond theories to consider also the practical and policy implications at stake. A helpful resource to scholars worldwide in Political and Social Theory, Political Philosophy, Legal Anthropology, Multiculturalism, and, more generally, of cultural identity and diversity in liberal democracies today.

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