Multicultural manners

Abstract

The political theory literature on multiculturalism is dominated by approaches based on rights and recognition -- quintessentially 17th- and 19th-century concepts, respectively. In this paper I aim to complement those approaches with one drawing on the 18th-century concept of manners. A range of cases of cultural contact and conflict -- especially those in the up-close settings of city life, and especially those having to do with contrasting cultural norms about seeing and being seen -- do not admit of wholly satisfactory resolutions in which every morally legitimate claim can be met at the same time. The paper surveys such cases, and explains what the concepts of manners and civility can bring to bear on their analysis.

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