Cover image for The liberal archipelago : a theory of diversity and freedom
The liberal archipelago : a theory of diversity and freedom
Kukathas, Chandran.
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Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2009.
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xii, 292 p. ; 24 cm.
Oxford political theory
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Oxford political theory


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Book BILKUTUP0310138 HM1271 .K84 2009 Central Campus Library

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In his major new work Chandran Kukathas offers, for the first time, a book-length treatment of this controversial and influential theory of minority rights. The work is a defence of a form of liberalism and multiculturalism. The general question it tries to answer is: what is the principledbasis of a free society marked by cultural diversity and group loyalties? More particularly, it explains whether such a society requires political institutions which recognize minorities; how far it should tolerate such minorities when their ways differ from those of the mainstream community; towhat extent political institutions should address injustices suffered by minorities at the hands of the wider society, and also at the hands of the powerful within their own communities; what role, if any, the state should play in the shaping of a society's (national) identity; and what fundamentalvalues should guide our reflections on these matters. Its main contention is that a free society is an open society whose fundamental principle is the principle of freedom of association. A society is free to the extent that it is prepared to tolerate in its midst associations which differ ordissent from its standards or practices. An implication of these principles is that political society is also no more than one among other associations; its basis is the willingness of its members to continue to associate under the terms which define it. While it is an 'association of associations',it is not the only such association; it does not subsume all other associations. The principles of a free society describe not a hierarchy of superior and subordinate authorities but an archipelago of competing and overlapping jurisdictions. The idea of a liberal archipelago is defended as one whichsupplies us with a better metaphor of the free society than do older notions such as the body politic, or the ship of state. This work presents a challenge, and an alternative, to other contemporary liberal theories of multiculturalism.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Introductionp. 1
The Thesis of this Workp. 4
Kymlicka's Theoryp. 9
The Structure of the Argumentp. 15
1 The Liberal Archipelagop. 19
A Conception of Liberalism in Outlinep. 23
Objections to this Conception of Liberalismp. 31
A Liberal Theory?p. 38
2 Human Nature and Human Interestsp. 41
Human Naturep. 42
Human Beings as Rational Revisersp. 56
A Series of Objectionsp. 64
Why 'Conscience'?p. 70
Concluding Remarksp. 71
3 Freedom of Association and Liberty of Consciencep. 74
Society and Culturep. 77
The Starting Point for a Theory of the Good Societyp. 85
The Good Society as the Free Societyp. 93
Objections to the Exit Principlep. 103
Freedom of Association and Liberty of Consciencep. 114
The Next Stepp. 117
4 Liberal Tolerationp. 119
Some Contemporary Liberal Views of Tolerationp. 120
An Alternative Viewp. 126
Objections and Some Repliesp. 133
An Elaborate and Perverse Theory: The Pitfalls of Pure Tolerationp. 140
Oppression with a Differencep. 148
Toleration and Political Societyp. 160
5 Political Communityp. 166
Defining Communityp. 167
Political Communityp. 171
Communitarianism and Political Communityp. 175
Liberalism and Political Communityp. 178
Minority Communities in Political Societyp. 181
Political Community Reconsideredp. 189
Nationalism and National Self-determinationp. 196
Modest Nationalismp. 205
State and Political Communityp. 209
6 The Cultural Construction of Societyp. 211
Society and the Statep. 211
The Problem of Equalityp. 214
Diversity, Groups, and Equalityp. 219
Metrics of Equalityp. 223
Sen and Sen's Abilitiesp. 226
Equality Between Groupsp. 229
Benign Neglectp. 236
Identity and the Politics of Recognitionp. 246
Conclusionp. 255
Political Philosophy and Modern Societyp. 255
The Liberal Archipelagop. 261
Referencesp. 271
Indexp. 281