Pluralism and the Politics of Difference

R. D. Grillo · ISBN 9780198294269
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Publisher Oxford University Press UK
Author(s) R. D. Grillo
Subtitle State, Culture, and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective
Published 1st September 1998
Related course codes

State, Culture, and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective

Is a plural, polyethnic, democratic society possible? Starting with Ernest Gellner's observation that `culturally plural societies worked well in the past', but `genuine cultural pluralism ceases to be viable under current conditions', this study explores pluralism in three settings; early states, modern industrial societies, and the contemporary `postmodern' world. Through a nuanced discussion ranging from pre-colonial Africa and Mesoamerica, to European and
American experiences in the twentieth century, Grillo explores the ways in which different social and political forms cope with ethnic and cultural diversity. The study uncovers a
range of different kinds of pluralism, from out-and-out separatism, through varieties of multiculturalism, to looser forms of `hybridity'. Rather than advocating one configuration over another, this important new book outlines the range of choices facing our societies as, moving into the twenty-first century, we try to reconcile the competing demands of universalism and difference.
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