Liberalisme en cultuur: Will Kymlicka over multicultureel burgerschap

Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 59 (2):215-252 (1997)
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This study examines Will Kymlicka's liberal defense of minority rights. The startingpoint of his argument is provided by a particular conception of individual freedom, which stresses the need for a context of choice in which it can be exercised. This contextof choice is conceived of as a societal culture, i.e. as „an intergenerational community, more or less institutionally complete, occupying a given territory or homeland, sharing a distinct language and history”. As far as societal-cultural membership is constitutive for the freedom and identity of the individuals, it can be considered as a Rawlsian primary good. Confronted with the fact of multinational and poly-ethnic States, thisconsideration involves the need for an equal distribution and protection of this good for all composing national or ethnic minorities. Group-differentiated measures thus are required by the liberal care for individual freedom and equality; but simultaneously they are limited by these very same principles. This point reveals the main difference with a communitarian approach to cultural politics. For the communitarian self being constituted by particular cultural characteristics, a politicsof the common good aims at securing the character of a culture rather than its existence as a societal culture. Therefore it is regulated by considerations of cultural preservation as such, not as required by the liberal principles of individual equality and freedom



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