George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life
Tag

multiculturalism

Τα δικαιώματα των Μαρωνιτών στην επανενωμένη Κύπρο

Σήμερα θα σας μιλήσω για αυτά που θεωρώ ότι πρέπει να διεκδικήσει η Μαρωνιτική κοινότητα στα πλαίσια των διαπραγματεύσεων για τη λύση του κυπριακού προβλήματος. Δε θα μπω στις λεπτομέρειες των διεκδικήσεων, αλλά στις βάσεις αρχής πάνω στις οποίες οι διεκδικήσεις αυτές πρέπει να τεθούν. Ας αρχίσουμε πρώτα με μια καταγραφή των πραγματικοτήτων στην Κύπρο. Στην Κύπρο έχουμε δυο κύριες εθνοτικές ομάδες[*], τους Ελληνοκύπριους και τους Τουρκοκύπριους. Οι δυο αυτές εξέχουσες ομάδες, έχουν ιστορική παρουσία στο νησί, δική τους γλώσσα, ήθη, έθιμα και θρησκεία. Βάση του συντάγματος του 1960 τα πολιτικά δικαιώματα των πολιτών της κυπριακής δημοκρατίας απορρέουν μέσα από τη συμμετοχή σε μια από τις δυο μεγάλες εθνοτικές ομάδες. Αυτό είναι που ονομάζουμε τον δικοινοτικό χαρακτήρα του συντάγματος του...

What is nation-building? Rousseau might have the answer

We do not live in monocultural states. Our modern states are multicultural and include people with different life-plans, comprehensive doctrines, and perceptions of the good-life. As such, the concept of the nation-state is outdated and so are nation-building policies. If ever states were monocultural, they no longer are. Now states are multinational. But how did the now outdated idea of the nation-state came about? By reading the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau we can get an insight into the thinking that established what we today describe as nation-building policies. The state and the nation are two concepts that have been combined, creating the modern understanding of the nation-state. The theoretical origins of the nation-state are found in Rousseau’s idea of the general will...

The UN and the EU should use their carrots to steer towards a multicultural solution

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Role upgrade needed for EU and UN,” May 21st, 2015. Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots have not been able to solve the Cyprus problem between them. Neither have they been able to solve it through the involvement of their respective motherlands. The Cyprus problem will only be solved through the United Nations and the European Union, who are already involved in the process, and who should use the carrots that they hold in order to steer the two sides towards a multicultural solution. Bear with me, this is not yet another oft-repeated Cyprob cliché. The aforementioned intergovernmental organisations must promote the respect of diversity and the rights of all people — including non-dominant national minorities (e.g. Maronites...

Should we reconsider the “Bi” in Bizonal Bicommunal Federation?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Reconsidering the ‘bi’ in bizonal, bicommunal federation,” May 24th, 2015. Once the dual meaning of the term “Greek-Cypriot” is deciphered, then one must proceed to understand the process of misrecognition that took place during the crafting of the 1960s constitution. Non-dominant minorities have experienced their ethnic, religious and linguistic identities denied to them in the name of their membership to the Greek Cypriot culture. This is what I describe as the process of misrecognition, where the initial classification of a cultural group conditions the demands that the group is entitled to make. Such acts of misrecognition have been legitimised with the 1960 bicommunally-organised constitution, and perpetuated in...

What it means to be a Greek-Cypriot?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail, May 17th 2015. In the case of Cyprus one must distinguish between the dual-meaning and usage of the dominant cultural identity. The identity and label of the Greek Cypriot (GC) can have two completely different meanings: there is a constitutional (civic) definition and a cultural definition. The civic definition is that which is found in the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, where a GC is a member of the Greek national group. Nevertheless, the civic definition of being a Greek Cypriot includes Armenians, Latins and Maronites, who “chose” to join the GC ethnic group back in 1959, only months before the introduction of the new constitution, as well as recently naturalised third country nationals. As such, to be a GC in the civic sense...

Time to rethink the book ban

A Cypriot was stopped at Stansted Airport because he was carrying emergency flares with him. The person that will likely carry mini-explosives to the airport is either a potential terrorist or “stupid and naive”, and it makes sense for the authorities to assume that he is the former. As it turned out, the defendant was not a terrorist. If this was a story about a 22 year-old with a box of distress signal mini-flares in his luggage, then there would be nothing controversial about it, besides perhaps the fact that the police actually returned the flares to him once they charged him. As it turns out, the problem were not the flares, but rather a book he was reading, called the Anarchist Cookbook, which was published in 1971. Five months before his airport arrest, Andreas...

Not very British #BritishValues: how Cameron silences minorities

In his article on Mail on Sunday, the British Prime Minister explains that values such as freedom, tolerance, social responsibility and the rule of law are virtues distinctively British that should be taught in schools. Cameron is factually, conceptually, historically and empirically wrong. These values he describes — tolerance, freedom, social responsibility, the rule of law — are desirable and worth upholding, but they are not ‘British’. They are global values that feature at the core documents of the biggest intergovernmental organisations like the Charter of the United Nations and the Lisbon Treaty. At best, they could be described as ‘Western Values’; an equally misguided conclusion since it assumes that non-Western countries endorse slavery, which is the opposite of freedom. Cameron...

HOWTO survive social encounters with British people

Life in the UK is not always straightforward. One needs time to get accustomed to the social norms in order to be able to understand the subtle meanings that are implied in social encounters. I will attempt, through an array of generalisations and stereotypes, to illustrate these differences. Continue reading only if you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Multiculturalism in Cyprus: watching the Third Motherland, a documentary about the Maronite community

Costas Constantinou and Giorgos Skordis created a documentary back in 2001, called The Third Motherland. It contains a series of informal interviews at the village of Kormakitis. The interviews show the internal exclusion that Maronites have experienced. As Constantinou himself says: “the film reveals the dilemmas of identification and belonging and accounts for opposing feelings and beliefs within and beyond the community”. It is “a film about cultural loss, co-option, denial of rights and everyday social problems, but also of ethnic pride, cultural revival, communal joy and resistance”.

Multiculturalism contra Ethnicity: the case of Cyprus

In late June, I will be presenting a paper titled ‘Multiculturalism contra Ethnicity: the case of Cyprus’ at a conference organised by Surrey’s Center of Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism and UCL’s Migration Research Unit, called The Future of Multiculturalism: Structures, Integration Policies and Practices. This is the abstract of my paper: This paper will use the post-conflict and post-colonial multicultural challenges that exist in Cyprus to assess the use of ethnicity as a marker for cultural identification. It will be demonstrated that ethnocultural identification can become a source of social, political and linguistic oppression and as such should not be uncritically adopted in defence of group-differentiated citizenship. This hypothesis...

Modood’s Multiculturalism: a Civic Idea

Opposite the critiques of group-rights, stands Tariq Modood who is one of the most vocal proponents of multiculturalism in the UK. His book Multiculturalism: a Civic Idea (2007) is a reply to the conservative claims that multiculturalism is dead, like those advanced by the British Prime Minister David Cameron when discussing terrorism and radicalisation (05 February 2011).

Kymlicka’s Multicultural Citizenship

In this post, I provide a summary of Will Kymlicka’s very influential book on multiculturalism, titled Multicultural Citizenship: a liberal theory of minority rights. This book is important for everyone interested in multiculturalism since it initiated the contemporary debate about group-differentiated rights. One needs not to fully agree with Kymlicka to acknowledge his courageous effort to challenge liberalism’s atomistic individualism by promoting an interpretation of traditional liberal values which demands special treatment to members of some (minorities and immigrant) groups. In doing so, Kymlicka challenges the long assumed neutrality of the liberal state. His thinking and argumentation comes within liberalism itself, which is what makes his case distinctive (if anyone...

Tully's Strange Multiplicity

I give a summary of what I consider to be one of the greatest works of contemporary political philosophy. Tully, in his book Strange Multiplicity (1995) gives an account of what a just constitution would look like. In a just constitution he tells us ‘each speaker is given her or his due, and this is exactly the initial question raised by the politics of cultural recognition’ (p. 6). A just constitution arises through deliberation among equals; people who mutually recognise each other for what they are without reducing them to familiar and convenient images that distort and misrepresent them. This requirement (of diversity) has been ignored in the discussion of multiculturalism, since ‘cultures are conceived as analogous to the more familiar constitutional concept of nations’ (p. 8)...

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

Social Media

Follow me on twitter