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Shifting paradigms: null remedies for national minorities from civic egalitarianism to ethnic multiculturalism: a context sensitive approach

Kuzu, Durukan (2013) Shifting paradigms: null remedies for national minorities from civic egalitarianism to ethnic multiculturalism: a context sensitive approach. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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National minorities, who claim autonomy and self-government rights, have always been a controversial problem in the fields of international law, political theory and nationalism. Multiculturalism and egalitarianism are two approaches that have long been discussed in all of these fields and implemented in various contexts. The success of policies that seem to be associated with these two approaches, however, has varied from one case to another. This study asks if failures of these approaches have anything to do with the contexts in which they take place. If so, what is the context in which these approaches prove to be futile? Theorists themselves explain aspects of an ideal context under which their theories can become fruitful. These ideal contexts and circumstances are, however, unrealistic; and their assumptions about the nature of social relationships do not always correspond with the reality. This study aims to find a more reliable criterion to assess the applicability of multiculturalism and egalitarianism. The thesis explains the relationship between national minorities and the state through a phenomenological paradigm. In this paradigm national minorities, the thesis argues, vary according to the state nationalisms they have experienced in the past. The thesis analyses the relational nature of minority and state nationalisms from this inter-subjective perspective. Within this framework, this study posits the hypothesis that multiculturalism and egalitarianism cannot produce viable solutions to the problems of national minorities who were persistently exposed to the policies of forced assimilation and civic state nationalism. The study reveals that a certain strand of multiculturalism that is ethnocentric cannot come to terms with such national minorities under the integrationist civic state nationalism because, from an inter-subjective perspective, the boundaries between the majority and the minority communities in this context are more fluid and diverse than they would otherwise have been. In such cases, resorting to ethno-centric multiculturalism and promoting the ‘authentic’ ethnic identities hampers the very diversity it seeks to promote. The thesis suggests that differenceblind egalitarianism is equally problematic in such cases because it cannot come to terms with the systematic injustice and the concomitant conflict that the policies of forced assimilation have created. As such its implementation weakens the very equality it seeks to promote. In order to explore and test this hypothesis, the dissertation makes use of a single in-depth case study of Turkey. In the period of candidacy for accession to the EU, Turkey is currently experimenting with ethnocentric multiculturalism to accommodate its Kurdish population more equitably. In Turkey, however, neither the contemporary discourse of ethno-centric multiculturalism nor the historical implementation of difference-blind egalitarianism seems to be a viable option from a liberal perspective. Observing the reasons for this failure enables the reader to develop a new insight to identify the cases where those theoretical perspectives could be more successful. Mindful of the fact that generalizing from a single case study is difficult, the case of Turkey will also be situated within a study of comparative cases to test the consistency of the hypothesis in this dissertation.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2013 Durukan Kuzu
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Kukathas, Chandran and Hutchinson, John

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