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Views on Kymlicka’ s Liberal Theory of Minority Rights

2020-05-18 来源: 51Due教员组 类别: Essay范文


下面51due教员组为大家整理一篇优秀的代写范文- Views on Kymlicka s Liberal Theory of Minority Rights,供大家参考学习。这篇文章讲述的是威尔·金姆利卡(Will Kymlicka)是一位杰出的哲学家,他从事多元文化研究,并对“公民权利”进行早期研究。少数群体权利理论是理解多元文化主义的关键。他撰写的《多元文化公民身份》(Multicultural Citizenship1995年)是捍卫少数民族权利的作品。通过这本书,他努力建立少数民族自由主义的概况,提出了一些原则来区分不同少数民族的关注,并评估这些关注在自由主义理论框架内的合理性。在这种情况下,构成他的理论的要素是什么?我们如何评估他的想法?本文旨在从这些问题的角度对肯姆利卡的少数派自由主义理论进行批判性评估。

Views on Kymlicka s Liberal Theory of Minority Rights

Will Kymlicka is an outstanding philosopher who does research on multiculturalism and does early studies on “citizen rights”. And the theory of minority rights comes as the key to understanding multiculturalism. Multicultural Citizenship (1995) written by him is a work of defender for the rights of minorities. Through such book, he makes an endeavor to build a profile for the liberalism of minorities, put forward a couple of principles to differentiate the concerns of different minorities and assess how legitimate those concerns are within the framework of liberalism theory. Such being the case, what elements constitute his theory ? And how can we take stock of his ideas ? This essay is to make critical assessments on Kymlicka’ s liberal theory of minority rights in the aspects of these questions.

Kymlicka places emphasis on culture as a part of rights of minorities by coming up with the term of “societal culture”, a culture that provides its members with meaningful ways of life covering a wide range of human activities including both public and private life (p. 207). He believes that such culture is in need of attention for the reason that minority groups are entitled to preserve their own traditions and practices and refuse to be assimilated into the mainstream culture, since minority groups’ identity and culture deserve to be acknowledged. He proposes that the newcomers in a country tend to integrate themselves into the general culture by leaving behind their own set of institutional practices, mother tongue and other traditions (p. 207). As such, some of minorities hope to recreate these practices. Their efforts, however, are unlikely to come into being owing to the fact that most of them settle in a new land individually rather than as large communities. Therefore, the government in the new land needs to shoulder the task of giving support to them (p.208). Besides, their traditional practices are actually in danger of being lost and then vanishing. Coupled with the matter, some groups are under the pressure of assimilating and even forced to do this, which can explained by the example of Indian tribes who have prohibited from speaking their mother tongue (p. 208). It is safe to say that those minority groups are put under disadvantageous circumstances for the local authority edges them out thanks to its advantages in terms of power and population. And thus those minority societies deserve to be given more support and rights.

Nevertheless, I can’t fully agree with this opinion. Minority individuals enjoy the right of making fresh decisions. And this means minority groups are also entitled to assimilate. As we all know, following the mainstream culture, speaking the local language and developing the normal habits in a new country will do a good turn to the newcomers when they are struggling to adapt themselves to the brand-new environment. It seems that Kymlicka puts excessive importance on government protection on minority rights. And he gives too much emphasis on societal culture. From my perspective, even the minorities have the right of abandoning their own traditions and acquiring new ones, if sticking to the old ones can’t bring them benefits. They have freedom to change and leave behind out-of-reach traditions that separate them from the general public. If the local government puts a special label on them as “minorities”, some newcomers or special groups who desire to lead a life that conforms to the mainstream may be unwilling to wear such label.

In the part of The Value of Cultural Membership, he stresses that successful integration seems impossible and that such integration calls for a struggling process (p. 211). In his opinion, people are inclined to adhere to their own culture. I dare say, however, such integration is not as difficult as he says. People is able to adapt to a new situation when they come up against it.

On top of that, Kymlicka puts forward that the member of a nation seldom share moral values or traditional ways of life except language and history, and that even there exist these to be shared, people from mixed groups remain divergent on the ultimate ends in life (p. 215).

His opinions, however, go apart from mine. Two different cultures can meet and melt easily especially when the trend of globalization is deepening and accelerating. It is partial to see one minority culture in isolation from other cultures. We can’t afford to overlook the interplay deeply seated in different cultures. Kymlicka’ s views are partial without the full consideration about mutual influence between diverse cultures. This can be best explained by the time he created this work when the trend of globalization was not so visible as today. He failed to capture how the global trend will go in the future and thus gave inadequate attention to cultural interplay. On the other hand, as it is natural of people to make changes to their original practices and take better moral values, they, especially the youngsters, tend to have a taste about the close foreign values around them. Changes could happen everyday. The opinion that claims values communications can exist at only a low level remains to be corrected.  

Apart from that, it is worth mentioning that Kymlicka stresses individual rights and that minority rights ought to be differentiated from “collective rights” that he regards as an ambiguous word. It is tempting to argue that his opinions on such issue is fair for even minority groups’ rights are exercised by individuals. As such, it makes no sense to discuss such rights need to be labeled as “individual” or “collective”. Rather, it’ s worth noting that why the rights of human groups should be viewed in different ways. And minorities’ culture especially deserves attention. After all, citizenship rights doesn’t amount to cultural membership rights and societal culture is essential to individual freedom (p. 211). Many liberals may believe that cultural membership can be fully protected the common rights of citizens, but such idea remains to be got right (p. 222). Apparently, Kymlicka accords high importance to societal culture.

As to this issue, my views are consistent with Kymlicka’ s. Since minority groups are put on the fringe of danger where they might face the destiny of ending up in vanishing, those societies are in need of more attention and assistance. Kymlicka seems a firm protector for minority societies, as he preaches that the local government is tasked with giving immigrants resources and self-governance powers necessary to re-create a societal culture, although it is hard to imagine there exist such government who is ready to adopt such policy (p. 216). The authority is responsible to provide a level field for all groups in a state including the minorities, and minority groups deserve more attention since they would be beset with discrimination and prejudice (p. 217). It can’t be denied that the majority culture has a perverse incentive to deal a blow to minority culture (p. 219). As such, it is fair to say Kymlicka rivets his eyes on  equality and justice of a state.

Kymlicka brings Waldron’ s ideas in his argument when he discusses the topic of individuating cultures. Waldron claims that people need to shrug off the notion to separate cultures and make efforts to develop a set of mixed cultures from a wide range, if they want to see more available options (p. 220). He also points out that individuating cultures threatens to thwart the process of cultural enrichment and diversification (p. 220). He is worried that national minorities’ desire to safeguard their own cultures would insulate themselves from the majority culture and thus isolate themselves from the outside world. Nonetheless, Kymlicka claims that there is no inherent link between the desire to keep a distinct societal culture and the desire to isolate a culture (p. 220). He believes that a unique culture would not do harm to the majority culture by illustrating that the aim of self-governance is to interact with larger nations on a more equal basis (p. 221). He claims that the right of autonomy is called for by minority societies to control the direction and rate of change (p. 221). In other words, Kymlicka is in support of defending the rights of minority groups and works to build a fair and equitable environment for all human societies especially the minority ones.

On one hand, I agree with Kymlicka as to the the perspectives of Waldron. It can’t be denied that he manages to make improvements to Waldron’ s theory by drawing a clear line between a unique traditional culture and a separate culture. As I regard, even some sort of culture stays unique such as some ethnic minorities’ cultures in China, it can exist for a long time and can even wear an attractive appearance in front of the mainstream culture. This means it would not be separated from the general public but could draw more attention and appreciation. Even a person from a minority society comes into the dominant group, he would not isolated by the majority but draws more attention due to his special identity. As such, it is partial to say a unique culture is doomed to be insulated, and Kymlicka criticizes such idea in his work.

On the other hand, I can’t agree with Kymlicka when it comes to his excessive emphasis on self-identity. He pursues absolute individual autonomy and self-identity, and champions minority rights. All this comes as an indicator of how compassionate and careful he is about those with minority identities who seem to be put under a disadvantageous circumstance. However, I have to say his emotion and sympathy has shaken his rationality, as societal culture, in my opinion, can’t be insulated and would finally evolve as time goes by. Kymlicka has too much emphasis on such cultural membership and tries to safeguard it. He is a respectable humanitarian who stands by minority societies in the world and calls for equal rights for them. To some extent, however, he is an emotional humanitarian with a narrow vision that keeps him from a keen eye on the global trend, since the world is seeing far closer connections between different cultures and the trend of globalization has become an overwhelming thing. This might be traced to the period when Kymlicka wrote this work.

In conclusion, Kymlicka puts forward unique and in-depth insights in his work, and gives an all-round analysis on might rights. He highlights the concepts of societal culture and cultural membership as the trademark of his work. And it could be moving that he fights for the rights and interests of minority groups. However, it is worth mentioning that he is inadequately rational so that his theory is partial and biased for the minority groups.  

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