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Zeynep Kılıç and Jennifer Petzen

This article invites scholars of race and migration to look at the visual arts more closely within the framework of comparative race theory. We argue that within a neoliberal multicultural context, the marketing of art relies on the commodification and circulation of racial categories, which are reproduced and distributed as globalized racial knowledge. This knowledge is mediated by the racial logic of neoliberal multiculturalism. Specifically, we look at the ways in which the global art market functions as a set of racialized and commodified power relations confronting the “migrant“ artist within an orientalizing curatorial framework.

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Christopher Hill, Sara Silvestri and Elif Cetin

The migration crisis is analyzed here in the context of the challenges that Italy faces as a country of immigration during a period of recession. It is argued that there has been no serious debate in Italy on multiculturalism or on religious freedom, despite the growing sociocultural and religious diversity arising from population movements and international conflict. The analysis begins with the Italian government’s attempts in 2015 to deal with migration and diversity and the associated domestic conflicts at the levels of both party politics and civil society. The external dimension of Italian politics is examined in terms of Rome’s impatient calls for EU help and the weak political position of Italy in relation to the root causes of migration. After discussing the meaning of the Christian/Catholic identity of the country in its present state, the chapter concludes that Rome has little choice but to develop a more long-term view with regard to diversity and integration.

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Jewish Space and the Beschneidungsdebatte in Germany

Multiculturalism, Ritual and Cultural Reproduction

Jay (Koby) Oppenheim

The concept of Jewish space, initially conceived by Diana Pinto as a unique European development, marked a critical shift in relations between Jews and non-Jews, the latter embracing a Jewish past as constitutive of their countries' own. The hoped-for European multiculturalism failed to blossom and Jewish space, in Pinto's assessment, has not born the fruit of its potential. To investigate the shortfall of Jewish space, this article examines the 2012 debate on ritual male circumcision in Germany (Beschneidungsdebatte) that drew contemporary Jewish practice into the public eye. Pinto's formulation is premised on a multicultural society that actively works to blunt intolerance, a condition whose fulfilment in contemporary Europe remains incomplete and uneven. Moreover, this attempt to extend the integration of history into memory was stymied by its lack of a living subject. While Jews constitute a long-standing minority population with a unique history in Germany, their success in establishing a shared Jewish space is tied to the broader project of tolerance and integration facing immigrant and minority groups in Western Europe.

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Veronika Honkasalo

This article examines multiculturalism and gender equality in the light of ethnicity, gender, and agency so as to illustrate how gender equality is used as a marker of Finnishness in various youth work contexts. The data presented consists of interviews with youth workers (n=42) and ethnographic fieldwork carried out from 2003 to 2005. The results illustrate that questions related to multiculturalism have enhanced the visibility of gender equality in youth work. The identification of gender-based inequality is connected, in particular, to girls from migrant backgrounds whose education and well-being are of social concern. Youth work itself is often seen as gender-neutral and equality-based. However, this illusion of gender equality reflects more the ideals of equality which are not being concretized in the practices of youth work. Equality in this context is defined as a purely quantitative concept: the solution to any possible inequalities is, therefore, that everyone should be treated in the same way.

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Imposed Politics of Cultural Differences

Managed Multiculturalism in Israeli Civil Society

Zvika Orr

This article analyzes the processes by which multicultural discourses and practices are implemented and adapted in local settings. Based on five years of ethnographic fieldwork in an Israeli NGO that promotes economic and social rights, this work examines the micro-politics of multiculturalism and the complex uses of this concept by various Jewish and Arab actors in the organization. The research shows how multicultural notions concerning Arab culture were introduced by the Jewish actors in order to depoliticize Jewish-Arab relations and preserve the balance and stability within the organization. By adopting characteristics of state multiculturalism—in a country where multiculturalism is not an aspect of official government policy—the Jewish actors attempted to produce social change while preserving central elements in the hegemonic Zionist-nationalistic worldview.

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Where Are the Minorities?

The Elusiveness of Multiculturalism and Positive Recognition in Sri Lankan History Textbooks

Anne Gaul

This article analyzes the representation of Sri Lanka's communities in history textbooks that are currently in use. Even before the end of the war in 2009, the education system was recognized as an instrument with which the country's divided society could be rebuilt. The issues addressed in this article concern a period in which ambitious educational reforms are being implemented that envision textbooks as a tool for the creation of a new generation of citizens in a postwar society. It reveals that the general lack of recognition of minority communities, and the negative representations of the Tamil community in particular, that appear in these textbooks are not compatible with the proclaimed vision of a multicultural yet integrated society. Instead of fostering social cohesion, these textbooks may deepen ethnic divides and stereotypes, and therefore thwart reconciliation and long-term peace.

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"We have to transform ourselves first"

The ethics of liberal developmentalism and multicultural governance in South Korea

Euyryung Jun

Multiculturalism has often been articulated through imperial and civilizational discourses that identify tolerance with the liberal West and intolerance with nonliberal societies and cultures. This article explores how the focus of the civilizational gaze is turned on the allegedly “not yet tolerant self“ in the neoliberal developmental state of South Korea. The mode of the liberal government that recently emerged in South Korea has been shaped not in the self-celebratory rhetoric of “what we are“ but in the self-critical, developmentalist rhetoric of “what we lack.“ Drawing from my fieldwork among local civic actors working in the field of migration, I discuss how the civic discourse of damunhwa, or “multiculturalism,“ that emerged in opposition to the “governmental objectification“ of migrant groups redirects the focus onto the ethical improvement of the general population, relying on another form of reified otherness that captures migrants and their presence in the country as “opportunities“ for South Korea's moral ventures.

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Governing ethnic diversity in rainbow nations

The politics of citizenship and multi-culturalism in Peninsular Malaysia—the case of Penang

Christian Giordano

The present article analyzes how, after its independence in 1957, Malaysia has been able to manage the difficult coexistence among its three numerically most relevant ethnic groups (Malay, Chinese and Indian). This complex situation, a legacy of the British colonial-like plural society, has been governed via a specific model of multi-racial citizenship, which is significantly unlike the Western European ones in which, as a rule, the equivalence between nationality and citizenship predominates. Starting from the specific example of Penang in Peninsular Malaysia, the article intends to highlight two points. Firstly, that citizenship must be perceived as an agonistic process with competition, tensions and conflicts as well as permanent negotiations. Secondly, that the Occidental agenda, based on liberal principles, can no longer be regarded as the only valid one. Therefore, believing that the Western type of citizenship could be a universalistic institution exportable anywhere is misleading. Consequently, citizenship ought to be analyzed instead as a 'concrete abstraction' that is set up in strict correlation with the specific historical contexts and with particular circumstances of a sociological nature, relative to the characteristics of each society.

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Alexandre Coello de la Rosa

Randi Gressgård, Multicultural Dialogue: Dilemmas, Paradoxes, Conflicts (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010), 190 pp. ISBN 9781845456665.

John L. and Jean Comaroff, Ethnicity, Inc. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 236 pp. ISBN 9781869141783.

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Andrew Dawson

This article describes the recent Sydney riots and the commentary surrounding them. The author demonstrates how, through processes of ‘analytical et nic cleansing’, ‘ethnic homogenization and specification’, and ‘blame displacement’, the Lebanese Muslim community, a target of the initial rioters, came to be victimized in commentary on the riots. While the riots may not have been particularly significant in themselves, the commentary surrounding them provides an important window onto the state of cultural politics in Australia at a specific juncture in time when multi-culturalism is simultaneously hegemonic but subject to attack from Australia’s ruling federal political regime. The author claims, moreover, that the victimization of Lebanese Muslims is indicative of a particular current process in which a discourse of multi-culturalism, engendered largely by its liberal advocates and drawing on the scholarly works of anthropologists and other social scientists, is utilized to undermine multi-culturalism as a form of social policy and organization.