A history of modern European cultural pluralism, its current crisis, and its uncertain future
In 2010, the leaders of Germany, Britain, and France each declared that multiculturalism had failed in their countries. Over the past decade, a growing consensus in Europe has voiced similar decrees. But what do these ominous proclamations, from across the political spectrum, mean? Looking at the touchstones of European multiculturalism, from the urgent need for laborers after World War II to the question of French girls wearing headscarves to school, The Crisis of Multiculturalism in Europe examines the historical development of multiculturalism on the Continent. Rita Chin argues that there were few efforts to institute state-sponsored policies of multiculturalism, and shows that today’s crisis of support for cultural pluralism isn’t new but actually has its roots in the 1980s. Contending that renouncing the principles of diversity brings social costs, Chin considers how Europe might construct an effective political engagement with its varied population.