Today I was thrilled to attend a public conversation between Prof Tariq Modood (Uni of Bristol) and Prof Fethi Mansouri, (Alfred Deakin Institute) reflecting on the changing global settings for diversity governance, in the realm of multiculturalism and interculturalism. The latter, a newer concept to me, was explored in depth as well as MC, examining in particular:
• Is there any credibility to the much repeated claim that multiculturalism is failing to deliver?
• How are we to understand multiculturalism across national settings, conceptual framings and philosophical foundations?
• What is meant by the intercultural turn in diversity management?
• How do we understand interculturalism? And how does it differ from multiculturalism?
• To what extent is interculturalism a replacement of multiculturalism rather than a useful correction
The individual presentations from both Professors traversed the philosophical, empirical and practical iterations of MC and IC as we see them played out in our societies and systems. The critiquing of MC through an IC lens proved a more intellectually constructive dialogue was needed as this is an area of emerging relevance. Particularly as these applications and interventions are happening within increasingly super-diverse settings.
As an avowed supporter of all things MC, I came out of this session with far more questions than answers, which I believe is essential in order for critical thinking to thrive. It also confirmed that complacency in learning about the intellectual thought fuelling these ideas, is dangerous. Unless we actively critique ideologies, they will come to define the systems that govern us.