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Webchat

Thanks to all for joining us.

The discussion will be archived and available after the end of the discussion.

Comments are now closed for this webchat.
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 05:02:57
bye!
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 05:02:55
*virtual handshake*
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 05:02:29
thanks everyone!
Director 12 Nov 2010 05:02:24
Thanks to the panellists and participants - very stimulating. Have a good weekend
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 05:02:24
There will be more! Special thanks to Tariq and Sunny, and Catherine who I suspect had a computer failure.
biasmagazine 12 Nov 2010 05:01:59
indeed! thank you all foe sharing...
Greg 12 Nov 2010 05:01:55
bye.. can we do it again sometime
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 05:01:54
Thank you all for joining us. Since this was our first webchat, I would appreciate all your comments on the structure and format. Please email me at jessica@runnymedetrust.org
elbu 12 Nov 2010 05:01:51
Thanks to the panelists! It was great to follow the discussion!
faded1 12 Nov 2010 05:01:49
Real shame it is finishing. Have to say thanks to jess for hosting it
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 05:01:43
How does one electronically shake hands these days...?
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 05:01:33
bye x
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 05:01:06
this was my first chat, I enjoyed it and it was good to meet you all online
Greg 12 Nov 2010 05:00:52
I'd like to get on to where religious identity plays a part. Scottish devolution was an interesting case study.. but I'm allos thinking of supra national identities susch as the umma or the universal catholic church.. But of course faith also brings exclusion.. pity we are running out of time
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 05:00:39
Great discussion. I think the panel should consider doing a European tour :)
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 05:00:32
is that it?
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 05:00:30
Last Words?
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:59:22
Director - yes, I take your point, however I'm thinking less about a hierarchy of need for protection and more about how whether popular conceptions of, for example race, change at a different pace to those of, for example gender.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:58:49
Phil - indeed it isn't! None of this is easy :)
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:58:48
Director: not sure about that; the degree of protection necessary is dependent on vulnerability and we can't assume that is uniform across all equality strands; that things change does not mean we should not make laws proportionate to current needs
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:58:06
Rob, I'm saying that while I agree that dominant uses of language can be subverted and reclaimed in some cases, in some cases it cannot. In addition, the idea of the nation-state is built on exclusion and politicla mobilization around that exclusion. i donlt see how it can possibly helopful to posit one form of exclusion as being better than another. It seems that we need to look beyond the nation-state and accompanying nationalisms for the solution to all our problems.
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:57:13
Sunny - yes, I take your point. Disentangling inequality and ethnicity is no mean feat.
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:57:13
Phil - if identities are socially created then they will all be mutable - there is not much benefit in constructing a hierarchy (as some have used in the past to suggest for example that sexual orientation is of a different order to race and therefroe needs less protection). The problem is not the identities themselves but the discrimination and inequalities that becoem related to them
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:56:46
I think the revival of Scottish nationhood and the Constitutional Convention that led to the formation of devolution as a policy is a very good example of national identity formation from the middle and below - and a contrast to how some nationalisms have been formed in 20th century Europe or how the EU tries to create a European identity
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:56:46
(We have 5 more minutes of discussion time!)
elbu 12 Nov 2010 04:56:30
Phil: "multiculturalism is dead" in Germany wasn't really expected to be a PR desaster, as people/politicians in Germany have been saying so for years. International reactions came as quite a surprise. The situation in the UK is quite a different one, with multiculturalism having a different meaning.
elbu 12 Nov 2010 04:56:08
faded1: agreed.
faded1 12 Nov 2010 04:55:38
elbu: good point elbu. Just wondering how and if laws could be created before a stable identity had been formed. Not sure that is possible so I tend to believe that policy recognition will tend to be retrospective - when the battle is won
Jana 12 Nov 2010 04:55:28
Tariq: You said that Britishness cannot be totally inclusive with respect to identities. Can you clarify?
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:54:17
greg: of course! The arts have a big role to play here... books, movies, music. All public figures and journalists especially necessarily make a difference... the question is whether enough of these disparate influences are pulling in the same direction....
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:54:13
Jessica, Greg - the state has to play a role but I think its better when it enables other groups and forces in society to be active so there is not a monopoloy of power and initiative or source of nationhood. In relation to schools this means that we need a plurality of schools. I know this sounds a bit like 'big society' but its pure John Stuart Mill!
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:54:06
All - Regarding terminology, might there be a risk that if 'multiculturalism' was dropped (maybe for good reasons) that it would be a PR disaster? i.e. 'multiculturalism is dead' headline, echoing recent events in Germany. Maybe, as a phrase, it is too late to loose it.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:53:19
Phil - yes it's true, and I'm not saying civil liberties is right for everything. We need to deal with inequality too... but that's a problem in itself, and not just an ethnic issue.
elbu 12 Nov 2010 04:52:39
faded1: You can't really separate identity formation from laws. They interact in a complex way. But I do think that laws also create certain kinds of identities and give them different importance. In Germany for example, people talk much more about "Muslims" now than before, when they talked more about "Foreigners", and that has to do with naturalisation policy and changed legal status.
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:51:25
malcolm.. Tariq .. but we have the nation state as an institution which has the power to promote an ideology or sense of national identity and culture either in a gross hard form with idolatrous pictures and staues of dictators or a much softer form as around celebration of the England football team (losing).. Is it possible to mobilise such identity forming power from below.. especially when its from a diverse base?
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:51:13
Tariq I’m interested in your point on school curriculum, not a top-down imposition. How will a national narrative on identity be cultivated in our schools? You mentioned faith schools in your piece, how do they fit in with inclusivity?
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:51:12
Faded1 certainly policy shouldn't come before identity - legislate against / for people that don't exist yet. My point was more on the limitations of law / policy in general not just when addressing race
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:50:57
Director - it goes without saying that fixedness is not a reality, for any equality strand or aspect of identity. However, might it be that some are relatively more fixed than others? Where might race/ethnicity fit into this?
faded1 12 Nov 2010 04:50:04
Kam: shouldn't law always lag behind identity formation to see how stable these identities are?
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:49:40
an excellent point
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:49:29
Phil/Kam - if you ask people from the trans communities I doubt they would agree about fixedness
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:48:55
Sunny - isn't there a risk that a civil liberties framework overlooks long-standing trends in terms of social mobility and ethnic penalties in the labour market?
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:48:51
Malcolm, just to clarify, are you arguing for the end of the nation state?
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:48:20
Phil - Gender is more fixed thats true, but in terms of how it operates in society i wonder if law isn't still playing catch up?
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:47:13
Phi- I think the law is very clunky generally, and espe when it comes to race. Which is why I think we need a broader and better understood framework when worrying about issues. I always use civil liberties as my main framework these days
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:47:10
Kam - (man-on-the-street voice) gender?
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:46:59
Naoise: I agree. but the state decides what should be taught in schools (eg. national history) and politicians have to take a lead in arguing for the need for change but I agree national identity cannot be, or at least should not be, a top-down imposition; its something that grows and has to be cultivated rather than manufactured
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:46:42
Well Malcolm, nationalists are nationalists because they promote the nation-state project
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:45:54
Phil - are there any identities that are fixed enough for clunky policy to ever catch up with? Is policy ever more than a best (or sometimes far less than best) possible fudge at something quite intangible and fluid here?
faded1 12 Nov 2010 04:44:50
Tariq: definitely agree. I always believed multiculturalism was more space for constructing new identities whilst respecting old ones
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:44:46
It's not just nationlists. Its the project of the nation-state that is the the problem. Rob - same difference as far as I can see
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:44:23
Tariq: Absolutely! But there is a limit to how much a state can do in the remarking of these identities (Sarkozy again). Some of it must come from wider civil society too... (Billy Bragg?)
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:44:10
Sunny - interesting last point. What if concepts of race are too fluid for clunky policy to ever catch up. Especially as 'mixedness', for want of a better word, increase exponentially.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:43:55
Yup, agree with Tariq's last comment
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:43:29
Marco - yes, they are sometimes. Though, if you allow a bit of decentralisation, it usually takes the wind out of their sails.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:42:53
Director - agreed. So either we develop a new Race Equality act (although Harman's equality act tried that) or we simply accept that things are too fluid anyway to keep trying to defend old models...
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:42:34
Malcolm: I agree with Sunny here. Multiculturalism is about remaking national identities not destroying them. But it may be that by 'national' you only mean chauvinism, militarism etc but thats like calling all religious people 'fundamentalists'. Nationalists have given the nation a bad name but we should not let them have the nation all to themselves
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:42:24
Sunny, the problem is that decentralists are often rigid nationalists as well these days (Flanders, Padania, etc.), don't you think ?
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:42:23
Greg/Malcolm - within a couple of generations since mass non-white migration over 90% of the population recognised that to be British is not to be White (Britishness for me even more tainted by its imperial connotations than Englishness) - so these things are capable of change - wouldn't give up on Englishness just yet
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:41:41
Tariq; yes things are constantly being remade and contested.in a variety of contexts..the outcome I guess relates to power relations between the various participants.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:41:41
Greg - the only way to deal with those old nationalistic and uncomfortable connotations is by changing the face (literally) for that identity tag
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:41:29
Tariq and Catherine - any thoughts on how the (potential) break up of the UK into independent nations will affect people's sense of belonging and citizenship? Does it matter?
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:40:48
Phil - I'm broadly a decentralist, because I think people want to manage their local affairs. But I'm also happy with a broader federal union politically speaking... a bit like the US model.
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:39:47
Greg: I think London is different and its inevitable that as more people make something of their Englishness then that too will be remade even if unevenly in terms of young-old, urban-rural, London-north etc
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:38:47
Greg - I agree surely nationalist tags are beyond redemption. Not sure if Sunny is tounge in cheek here??? Difficult to see
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:38:42
Sunny, that's pretty much what the race relations amendment act tried to do - by getting every public authority to write down what they do each year to promote good race relations. An interesting experiment, but I think those days are now over - be interested to think about how the Tory approach (transparency rather than accountability) might be used to get the disparate public sector organisations to commit to working towads a 'multicultural ideal' - whatever we end up calling it
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:37:54
Ryan: In that sense any identity has an exclusion. When we insist on remaking British so we can be part of it, so it reflects contemporary British citizenship, we are opening up criteria of inclusion but of course one country cannot be all humanity
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:37:08
I'm as English in my roots as they come. (white) but I'm uneasy about it as an identity label because of the monocultural imperialist and racial associations that are still there.. And my feeeling is that this is stronger up north where I now live than it is in multiculural metropolitan London.. Most white people in Lancashire instinctively exclude minorities .. especially Muslims from being English..
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:36:52
Elisabeth: Good point about 'integration'. 'Inclusion' does seem to be a good option.
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:36:24
Sunny - just read your piece; thanks for link. In terms of devolution then. If Scotland became independent would that help further 'detoxify' (a toxic word these days) 'Englishness?' Do you have any thoughts on devolution more generally?
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:35:48
Kam: me too! Things get even more complex the more mixed you are too...
Ryan ROTA 12 Nov 2010 04:35:29
Doesn't national citizenship carry within it a set of inherent exclusions - in other words, the non-British?
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:34:44
Tariq; I agree! Racism has no place in multicultural democracy. I also think that the debates on culture and identity are crucial. it is not an ether or situation. We need to address economic and cultural dominations at the same time
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:34:25
Yes, tariq is right, it also encompasses a very negative consequence of segregation
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:34:10
Rob/Director - it's already the case that different authorities interpret things differently... nothing I say suggests that will change, improve or get worse!
biasmagazine 12 Nov 2010 04:34:03
Rob how would you challenge the man at the bus stop who wont have it when you tell him you are english born and bred and he then asks where is your family from?
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:33:42
Elisabeth: What Merkel calls 'multiculturalism' is the segregation of denizens, 'guest-workers'. I agree that Germany tried it and it has failed and should not be revived. But that just opens up the space for a more genuine kind of multiculturalism, not leitkultur
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:33:30
Rob/Director - you're right about decision making being decentralised. But that's the case even if you want to protect 'multiculturalism' - unless you write down a list of policies you think every authority in the UK should sign up to under 'multiculturalism'.
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:33:05
MC in germany is not taken to refer explicitly or specifically to diversity management, but much more loosely stg that refers to a broad societal permisiveness--they use the term 'multiculti' to cover stg much closer to hippy-dippy... if you'll forgive the slang.
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:32:59
I've always answered "london" when asked where i'm from but have generally been very reluctant to accept that as an answer
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:32:39
Back to terminology - I think integration is a hopeless term. In this country where I am writing from there is a separate Directorate for Integration. Integration is a two way process but the state tend to use "integration" policies as a tool for assimilation. Inclusion is far better.
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:32:22
That's ok Sunny - in some ways I am a director...
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:31:54
Oops, the comment about Englishness was directed at Phil, not director
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:31:35
I'm with Sunny - I'm English too - partly because anyone who finds it contradictory that I can be black and English, needs to be challenged.
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:31:32
Marco: i would agree that we could not have social justice with deep economic inequalities; but the elimination of deep economic inequalities is compatible with racism and cultural hegemony, so we need to ensure that we do not have a reductive notion of social justice
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:31:11
Catherine, what did MC mean in Germany?
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:31:07
Naoise - not every drive at inclusiveness has to be done like Sarkozy. There are other ways as well...
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:30:23
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/23/english-british-national-identity-ethnic-minorities
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:30:21
Hi Director, not at all. I write about my transition to 'Englishness' here:
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:30:20
Elisaboth, no I don't think it ever really did MC. Also, I think it means stg completely different in Germany and that Merkl's comments didn't actually mean what we thought... she's not *that* stupid!
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:29:55
Sunny: there seems to be a real tension between the idea of a joint citizenship and an idenity such as Englishness which is superimposed on it.. Ask the Scots..
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:29:44
I'm not sure if an organised drive at imagining a new national citizenship would end up being inclusive... does anyone how Sarkozy's project on this went in France recently?
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:29:30
Can I ask what the panel has to say about Merkel making a comment about multiculturalism having failed in Germany. Did Germany ever have a "multicultural" agenda?
Phil Mawhinney 12 Nov 2010 04:29:24
Hallo Sunny - interesting that you are more likely to call yourself 'English' than 'British'. Is it fair that 'Englishness' is generally perceived as more racist (to be crude) than 'Britishness'? Is your feeling of being 'English' really an act of re-claiming 'Englishness' from racially/culturally exclusive understandings? Sorry to be a bit bold - devil's advocate etc...\n
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:29:20
What I mean is that in a situation of deep economic and social inequality, it may be tempting for policy-makers to use the cultural recognition arguments as a kind of easy response to marginalization.
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:29:07
Sunny: this sounds good, but a problem arises with increasingly decentralised decision-making and the breadth of policies which can support or detract from a multiculturalist project. Case by case may be fine, but across 30 thousand public authorities, do we have appropriate levels of scrutiny to promote an ideal without articulating it? PS it's Rob btw
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:28:56
Sunny - ah yes! but what exactly is a British value? now that is a term i would like to see someone define!
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:28:45
Greg: there are two ways of limiting rights: concentrating them in one place, such as the state; or distributing them to create a more pluralistic landscape. I prefer the second - as long as basic individual rights are robustly protected
Vicki Butler 12 Nov 2010 04:28:44
What does the panel think about the link between multiculturalism and equality? Even in countries that have adopted multiculturalism as nation-building projects, group inequalities exist. Can multiculturalism deliver a more just society? \n
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:28:09
Hi Vicki
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:27:55
Hi Julie - yes I agree. I also think people get too attached to terms. I still the answer lies in a newly imagined and defined view of national citizenship... like Englishness :)
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:27:40
On the whole though, it has been a positive experience. But my own feeling is that we had both too much MC - lots of emphasis on differences - and not enough, i.e. not enough commitment to it as an actual state-building project.
Vicki Butler 12 Nov 2010 04:27:31
Hi everyone
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:27:21
I am thinking of the policies described in Kenan Maliks book for example. I was not really aware of the extent of these!
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:26:48
Elisabeth, there is a sense in which MC here has aggravated divisions. I think also, it's partly about the fact that it has made life difficult for the left because emphasising difference is seen to have come at the expense of solidarity
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:26:27
Elisabeth: which policies do you have in mind?
H 12 Nov 2010 04:26:04
Marco - yes I think that sounds right
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:25:52
Tariq... I was just being cautious about giving too many rights to big organisations. fearful coporations and governement has too much power I might want to limit their "rights"
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:25:43
Marco: I don't have a clear idea of what social and economic justice would be, so I prefer to say that whatever it is it should include recogonition-equality and not reduce people to economic agents
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:25:03
Sunny - I am not sure! What I meant was that we dont really need to aviod terms as such but we do need to be aware of what they mean. I think too often people, including myself, use terms which are incredibly complex and nuanced without thinking about what they mean.
H 12 Nov 2010 04:25:03
Malcolm - good point. From my perspective things like integration and inclusion are less problematic but I'm sure others think they are worse.
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:25:01
I would like to pick up on catherine's point about multiculturalsism also being about policy practice. Again, writing from overseas can I ask if there is some kind of agreement in the UK that some of the policies implemented in the UK in the early 90s (so-called multicultural policies) has not worked as they intended to?
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:24:11
As Catherine says, the ideology of it is still important. As much as we can (and should) think about policy on a case-by-case basis, it will be ineffective unless there is a driving ideology. One good thing about multiculturalism is that is gives us that. We just need to be careful about (ab)using it.
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:23:53
Greg: I am not sure what you mean by organisations having lesser rights than citizens. Organisations are a basis for citizens to participate and represent themselves in a democracy - they are the spaces in which citizens can be citizens, as well as in looser ways of course
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:23:38
social and economic justice should be the pillars of a multicultural democracy. Agree everybody ?
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:22:55
H - what terms aren't maligned and misunderstood?
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:22:36
Sunny just put that arguement much better than me!
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:22:36
Julie - what arguments do you want to develop?
H 12 Nov 2010 04:22:26
But it's not just racism. There are lots of barriers to integration that aren't racist prejudice
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:21:58
Well it is always nice to use terms that are not negative but I dont think we should avoid them all otherwise how would we develop arguements against them?
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:21:30
but multiculturalism can be a way of capturing a state of affairs, but it is also an ideological arrangement--in other words it is about policy practices
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:21:29
Hi Director - well it depends on what policies are being put forward. We can still oppose or support policy on a case-by-case basis despite the term. Boris for example hated multiculturalism apparently, but still celebrates it.
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:20:59
Well companies and coporations have rights in law so I suppose contituted groups must have as well. don't know whether they should have more rights than citizens.. maybe less...but in terms of multi-culturalism each such group will have its own distinctive culture and ethos.. which is far more easy to understand than say African or islamic culture which was the sort of terminology familiar in the older more naive multiculturalism
H 12 Nov 2010 04:20:51
No one term will be perfect but I don't understand why people cling to multiculturalism when it's so maligned (and misunderstood)
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:20:50
I do think we need to reinvent multicultural citizenship. But the debates about diversity and interculturalism in Europe do not help. The extremes are progressing. On the one hand, blunt assimilationnists, on the other radical cultural separatists.
biasmagazine 12 Nov 2010 04:20:44
how may word have we had since the 0's to describe race realtions lets go the full 360 back to calling it what it is racism?...
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:20:18
http://www.baringfoundation.org.uk/publications.htm#Intercult
biasmagazine 12 Nov 2010 04:19:50
all these ism's are just ways of getting out of what it really is racism
Director 12 Nov 2010 04:19:48
Hi Sunny, really tempted by your analysis that we can drop multiculturalism as a description of a policy bundle because it is in reality 'everyday'. But wonder whether this merely gives space for an alternative concept such as 'integration' or 'cohesion' to be inserted which can quickly be turned to contradict the idea of multiculturalism that Tariq expresses.
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:19:15
Julie and Naoise, does that mean we also need to avoid terms that resonate in a negative or unhelpful fashion, as Sunny was arguing?
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:19:09
Interculturalism as a term has largely coopted into the community cohesion framework. See reports by Baring Foundation for more info
Malcolm James 12 Nov 2010 04:19:09
Interculturalism as a term has largely coopted into the community cohesion framework. See reports by Baring Foundation for more info
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:19:07
Greg - all kinds of organisations with formal memberships have various rights and duties in law, expectations of consultation etc such as trade unions, CBI, tenants associations as well as the ones you mention. Thats part of democracy, isn't it?
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:18:46
Phil Wood writes about the Intercultural City from a UK perspective. I am writing from outside the UK and there is huge interest here in what is going on in the UK with this debate and what new "term" has supposedly replaced multiculturalism etc.
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:18:31
I think that Naoise makes a very important point - we need to use terms that people understand in their own contexts otherwise they are meaningless?
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:18:12
Personally i would generally grant more leeway to freespeech over right not to be ridiculed or hassled but i think you do have to be very careful where you draw the line there.
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:17:27
Elizabeth, that's a very good point. I guess the key there is a negotiation over priorities. The degree to which free speech can be curtailed to accomodate your right not to be ridiculed or vice versa depending a little on which people think takes precedence.
Naoise Mac Sweeney 12 Nov 2010 04:16:59
'Interculturalism' is very trendy in academic circles, but is less used in the popular press in Britain. The trouble with terminology is that while we can define words very specifically, these nuanced definitions don't always come across into the wider public discourse. If we are to engage people in the discussion, we need to use term which resonate with them
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:16:53
But Catherine - free speech isn't going to be more in conflict with each other than clashing cultures - there's no model that does not have some clashing involved.
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:16:09
No, hardly anyone uses the term interculturalism here. I find it difficult to find any political discussion of it in English. What would you recommend?
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:16:00
... I suppose it's arguable they get exemptions sometimes, like the controversy on gay adoption, but we are moving away from that. Albeit slowly...
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:15:13
Except that, however nice a thought, human rights are often in conflict with one another. your right to free-speech, my right to go about my business without being ridiculed or hassled... cultural rights, which are an intrinsic part of who we are and how we live are not easy to accommodate.
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:15:11
Greg - I have no problems with mosques and churches existing as themselves. But do we give them more rights than citizens?
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:14:51
On the continent, the terms diversity 'interculturalism' have become fashionable. Is it alos the case in the UK?
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:14:43
MAGDAZ: there is a sense in which many people think that all existing models have failed but there is little sense about what should replace them - we seem to be in a moment between paradigms.
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:14:06
Hi Kam, good question but I suppose per definition equality should be part of "civil rights" (in an ideal world that is!)
Greg 12 Nov 2010 04:13:47
What do the panelists think about the tension between rights of individuals who may have multiple shifting identities and the rights of groups. Of course individuals may have overlapping memberships of groups but I'm thinking of formally constituted groups such as local churches or mosques or a criket club or tenants association or Pakistan welfare association or carribbean club?
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:13:38
I agree with Elisabeth below too - equality, human rights and free speech give everyone the framework we need!
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:13:12
Marco: hi, I think that we have moved from race-ethnicity to ethno-religious identities and groups and that Muslims have been central to this and that this trend will become more pronounced both for demographic and political reasons
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:12:37
Hi Elisabeth, do you think that those things are separate from civil rights?
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:12:32
I agree with Elisabeth and would add access to justice for all
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:12:29
But I still have the point I made at the debate: why do we need to use the word 'multiculturalism'?
MAGDAZ 12 Nov 2010 04:12:08
I have quite complicated question for prof. TariqI would like to ask about the best way for Western European countries and immigrants(muslim immigrants, citizens)? British multiculturalism is/was the best way for integration? But maybe UE needs something new, like 'new multiculturalism'?
Elisabeth 12 Nov 2010 04:11:38
I think equality and equal access for all should be the ground pillars for a "good society" in terms of coexistence!
Marco Martiniello 12 Nov 2010 04:11:09
Hello Tariq! It seems to me that the debate on multiculturalism has become a about Islam in the west. Would you agree ?
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:11:08
I think one of the positive aspects of the term is that it allows an expansion of the parameters within which we discuss citizenship. It has allowed us to move to a much more inclusive view. That's the whole point: it is multiculturalism that has made this more inclusive
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:10:05
Thank you for you answer Tariq. Tariq said that civil rights are the ground floor of a liberal democracy. What else do people think is necessary for a good society?
H 12 Nov 2010 04:09:47
Hi. I think Rebecca is right to flag up the different understanding of multiculturalism. What is the benefit of holding on to the term if other terms can allow for difference but without the stigma/ baggage of divisiveness
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:08:34
Welcome Sunny. Now we have all panelists with us. Thanks for joining.
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:07:57
Hi, just bear with me if I take a while to respond. Hello everyone!
Sunny Hundal 12 Nov 2010 04:07:52
Hello! I'm here too!
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:07:51
I think people of mixed identities can fit into rather well as the idea of assimilation is undermined. It does however also require us to accept hyphenated and multiple identities
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:07:25
Welcome Catherine!
catherine 12 Nov 2010 04:07:10
But I'm here!!
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:07:01
(By the way Catherine has informed us she is experiencing server problems, and hopes to join soon)
MAGDAZ 12 Nov 2010 04:06:52
Hi everyone,
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:06:28
I think multiculturalism is about a citizenship that allows for difference. So, we should encourage citizenship, make it something people can be proud of but not demand assimilation
Kam 12 Nov 2010 04:06:25
Hello Everyone, I have a question for Tariq: In your discourse on multiculturalism you discuss multiple identities and group politics. I was wondering how you felt people of mixed heritage / mixed identity fit into the schema of multiculturalism?
Rebecca Waller 12 Nov 2010 04:05:29
There seems to be a disconnect between academic interpretations of multiculturalism and popular perception – inclusivity vs. divisiveness. Why multiculturalism if Britishness can be an inclusive cultural identity?
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:05:01
No, civil rights are part of the ground floor of a liberal democracy, protecting individuals, but we cannot derive a good society from them alone
Julie 12 Nov 2010 04:04:22
Hi Tariq. I am interested to know what you think about multiculturalism in relation to refugees and asylum seekers. It seems to me that as time goes on sections of society are excluding they get more stigmatised and excluded from mainstream society, what do you think multiculturalism can offer them?
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:03:40
Tariq, Sunny seems to be ambivalent about the term. In a way, recognizing the concept exists, but not concerned that we use the word. Do you think a language of civil liberties/human rights could replace it?
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 04:01:07
Hi Tariq, welcome to the discussion
Tariq Modood 12 Nov 2010 04:00:13
Hi everybody,
‘Multiculturalism’ has many meanings, but the minimum is the need to politically identify groups by reference to non-economic identities, typically ethnicity, and to work to remove stigmatisation, exclusion and domination in relation to such groups. If you accept this definition, then it seems clear to me that multiculturalism exists and is not about to go away but indeed should be developed into the most positive thing we can make of it. As you can see from the text on the website I think the critiques of multiculturalism have something of value but they qualify it and should not lead us to reject multiculturalism.\n
Jessica Sims 12 Nov 2010 03:54:19
Good afternoon and welcome to our live webchat with Tariq Modood, author of Still Not Easy Being British, and Sunny Hundal, journalist and founder of the blog Liberal Conspiracy and Catherine Fieschi, Director of Counterpoint. Thanks to all for joining us.
This is a live and open discussion, so please indicate the person your question is directed to (if at all). The discussion will be archived and available after the end of the discussion. We have an hour so at 4pm we’ll go ahead and jump into the discussion.

Catherine Fieschi is the director of Counterpoint

Sunny Hundal is a journalist who runs the Liberal Conspiracy blog

Tariq Modood is the author of Still not easy being British: struggles for a multicultural citizenship