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Resources

Global Centre for Pluralism staff work with knowledge partners around the world to draw together experiential and research-based learning about the principles and practices that support inclusive citizenship. We make this learning available to global audiences in different text and video formats as part of our knowledge sharing program.


Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies: Cases and Themes

Accounting for Change in Diverse Societies is a new publication series from the Global Centre for Pluralism. Focused on six world regions, each “change case” examines a specific moment in time when a country altered its approach to diversity, either expanding or eroding the foundations of inclusive citizenship. The aim of the series – which also features thematic overviews by leading global scholars - is to build global understanding of the sources of inclusion and exclusion in diverse societies and the pathways to pluralism.

This work was carried out with the aid of a grant from the International Development Research Centre, Ottawa, Canada. The views expressed herein do not necessarily represent those of IDRC or its Board of Governors. This analysis was commissioned by the Global Centre for Pluralism to generate global dialogue about the drivers of pluralism. The specific views expressed herein are those of the author.


Change Cases

Bolivia

Bret Gustafson

Despite economic expansion in recent years, high levels of poverty and economic inequality persist among members of Bolivia indigenous majority. The election of the country’s first indigenous president in 2005 marked a transformative turn in the country’s national identity—away from the assimilationist ideas of nationhood espoused by white or mestizo elites to a more inclusive “plurinational” conception of identity. New constitutional commitments to cultural rights, indigenous rights, social and economic rights and protections against discrimination have been adopted but have proved difficult to implement, as the country’s long-standing dependence on natural resource extraction and export complicates the real politics of rule. In respect to indigenous rights and majority politics, what are the limits of Bolivia’s discursive shift?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Brazil

Daniela Ikawa

After independence, a widespread notion took route that Brazilians comprised a single “cosmic” race produced by significant mixing between indigenous peoples, former African slaves and European settlers. In practice, this belief ignored the very real discrimination experienced by Afro-Brazilians, which only in recent years has the state attempted to address through affirmative action policies. What factors account for this changed conversation around diversity in Brazil, and how have the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion changed? As “race” has become more central to debates over national identity, how have these debates affected inter-ethnic trust? What broader lessons can be gleaned from the malleability of Brazil’s self-identity and about the limits of such changed conversations for the lives of citizens?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Côte d’Ivoire

Abu Bakarr Bah

In Côte d’Ivoire, President Houphouët-Boigny (1960 to 1993) maintained political stability despite intermittent violence between ethnic and religious groups in the north and the south, in part by including members from different ethnic groups in all levels of government. This policy ended with the introduction of multiparty politics in 1993. Political leaders exploited group-based tensions to mobilize followers and, once in power, used state institutions to frame and enforce an exclusionary national narrative—political practices that ultimately led the country into civil war. What accounts for Côte d’Ivoire’s exclusionary turn in 1993? What opportunities were missed to create a more peaceful and inclusive political process? What does Côte d’Ivoire’s experience tell us about democratic transitions in divided societies?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Germany

Jan Dobbernack

Starting in the 1960s, Germany experienced a surge in immigration, predominantly from Turkey. These immigrants were essential to Germany’s economic growth, but the country was slow to recognize these migrants as citizens. Citizenship reforms introduced in 2000 have widened the terms of state membership, but fears over the “divided loyalties” of immigrants persist among many Germans. What has been the public conversation in Germany – among conservatives and liberals – as access to citizenship has expanded? What have been the catalysts for greater pluralism as well as the sources of resistance since Germany’s reunification?

2017

Paper | Case Note


India

Rochana Bajpai

Like many postcolonial states, India’s path to independence included building a common national identity among diverse religious and ethnic groups. While the creation of Pakistan in 1947 seemed to assert that Hindus and Muslims could not co-exist in a single nation, India remained committed to recognizing cultural diversity and promoting a more pluralistic sense of citizenship. What lessons can we learn about the choices India made and the dynamics of difference within its self-identity as a country? Is a commitment to pluralism central to India’s identity today?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Malaysia
 
Hwok-Aun Lee

At the end of British colonial rule in Malaysia, indigenous Malays comprised a majority but were often economically disadvantaged compared to Chinese and Indian migrants who had arrived prior to independence. In response, the Malay-majority government used its political dominance to introduce affirmative action policies to recognize the special position of “Bumiputera” peoples (Malays and other indigenous groups) and improve their economic standing. Introduced as a constitutional commitment, affirmative action has shaped Malaysian citizenship and democracy. What lessons can be drawn from this experience about the effectiveness of affirmative action as a policy remedy for horizontal inequalities? How has this choice effected pluralism in Malaysia?

2017
 
 
 

Nigeria 

Daniel Agbiboa

Nigeria is one of Africa’s most diverse and deeply divided states. Ethnic and religious tensions stemming from the divide-and-rule practices of British colonialism have persisted for much of Nigeria’s modern history and have erupted in open conflict in several instances. Nigeria’s federal model has helped to mitigate violence to some extent and attempted to address the persistence of widespread inequalities. How effectively has the federal model functioned as a remedy for group-based “horizontal” inequalities and as mechanism for addressing group grievances? How has Nigerian federalism adapted to new challenges such as the rise of religious radicalization and its effects?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Singapore

Daniel Goh

In Singapore, commitment to multiculturalism has been a central part of the country’s identity since independence. The top-down, four-ethnicity framework that Singapore adopted in the 1960s (Chinese-Malay-Indian-Other) has sought to maintain harmony among the city state’s different ethnic groups by defining Singapore as a multi-ethnic state, thus avoiding some of the pitfalls of majoritarian politics. How important a role has top-down social engineering played in Singapore’s form of multiculturalism? What distinguishes Singapore’s model from more liberal forms of multiculturalism?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Spain

Francisco Colom

With the death of Franco in 1975, Spain faced multiple challenges, including how best to manage the transition from fascist dictatorship to democracy while also addressing the rise of nationalist movements in Catalonia and the Basque Country seeking autonomy. That the leaders of the democratic transition would build territorial pluralism into their conception of democratization was by no means inevitable. Why and how did democratization and pluralism intersect during the Spanish democratic transition? Forty years on, what does the Spanish experience tell us about the relationship between democracy and devolution and the changing place of pluralism within the self-identity of the country? Which sources of exclusion stubbornly endure?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Sri Lanka

Neil DeVotta

Under British colonial rule, the Tamil minority in what is now Sri Lanka occupied a privileged position over the Sinhalese majority. After independence, Sinhalese politicians leveraged their new powers of majority to address the widespread inequality by denying Tamils equal language and citizenship rights. This systematic exclusion from the Sri Lankan state eventually culminated in a civil war that lasted more than 20 years. To redress majority disadvantages, early governments created new systems of exclusion that favoured the majority instead. What were the crucial pivot points that pushed Sri Lanka towards exclusion rather than towards more inclusive citizenship at the end of the colonial period? How did ideas of nationhood drive these decisions?

2017

Paper | Case Note


Thematic Overviews

Horizontal Inequalities

Frances Stewart

Horizontal inequalities are inequalities among groups of people. This is to be contrasted with vertical inequality which is inequality among all the individuals in a society. Relevant group categories include, among others, race, ethnicity, religion, class, gender and age, with the relevance and importance of any category varying across societies. Horizontal inequalities are important above all because of their implications for justice and social stability. Large horizontal inequalities among groups are likely to undermine pluralism in a society, because they generate grievances between groups and disaffection; however, while reducing horizontal inequalities is a necessary condition for flourishing pluralist societies, by itself it is insufficient.

2017

Paper

Watch Frances Stewart discuss the importance of group-based inequalities to understanding pluralism at the first Pluralism Advisory Group meeting in 2014.


The Hardware and Software of Pluralism

Will Kymlicka

Successful pluralism requires both “hardware” and “software”. The hardware are institutions—such as constitutions, legislatures, courts, schools and the media—that define the legal and political space within which members of society act. The software are “cultural habits” or a “public mindset”, such as conceptions of national identity and historic narratives. These habits and mindsets shape our perceptions of who belongs and who contributes, and influence how we interact on an everyday basis with others. Both dimensions are critical and interdependent. Even the best-designed institutions will fail if citizens enter those institutional spaces with fearful or exclusionary attitudes. Institutional structures can be quickly subverted by rising strands of intolerance, or slowly subverted by enduring attitudes of indifference. Promoting pluralism therefore requires both “institution work” and “culture work”.

2017

Paper 

Watch Will Kymlicka discuss multiculturalism in Europe and Canada at the first Pluralism Forum in 2012.


Institutions

Jane Jenson

Institutions—both state and civil society—are central to pluralism. They establish governance practices, define citizenship, accord individual and collective rights, and identify or enable the obligations of citizens. Through these means, institutions can be used to advance pluralism—for example, through affirmative action policies or more inclusive constitutions—but they can also be used to obstruct pluralism—for example, through bans on religious garments. An institution can contribute to pluralism only to the extent that a society’s cultural ideas, norms, values and practices support this outlook. As the “hardware” of pluralism, institutions require the right “software” to work.

2017

Paper

Watch Jane Jenson discuss the building blocks of inclusive societies at the first Pluralism Advisory Group meeting in 2014.


Secularism

Niraja Gopal Jayal

The relationship between the state and religion acquires particular significance in diverse societies populated by citizens avowing different faiths. This relationship varies widely, encompassing a spectrum ranging from theological states to states that determinedly refuse to recognize religion. In between these two extremes, there are different, more or less rigid, models of secularism which have evolved in response to specific historical contexts. The need for secularism as state policy arises from the requirement of both protecting the individual’s freedom of religion, as well as the need to create and promote a democratic public space in which issues of shared civic concern may be resolved in keeping with liberal values such as freedom, human rights and self-determination. The principle of liberal political equality requires us to detach citizenship from any religious affiliation so that the moral equality of all individuals is reflected in their political equality.

2017

Paper

Watch Niraja Gopal Jayal discuss the relationship between religion, secularism and the state at the Global Centre for Pluralism in 2014.

Speeches

One of our key aims is to encourage people to talk about pluralism. To help spur discussion, we make key texts from our Annual Pluralism Lectures and Partnership Events available here.


Social and Cultural Uncertainties: Diversity, Social Change and Education

Dr. Huguette Labelle | Oxford Symposium for Comparative and International Education (OXSCIE)
Board Member
June 9, 2017

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Foreign Policy Assocation Medal

John McNee | New York
Secretary General
May 3, 2017

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Educating for Pluralism in an Increasingly Diverse World 

John McNee | UNESCO Week for Peace and Sustainable Development
Secretary General
March 8, 2017

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Reconciling Unity and Diversity in the Modern Era: Tolerance and Intolerance 
Beverley MacLachlin P.C. | Annual Pluralism Lecture
Chief Justice of Canada
May 28, 2015

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Forced Displacement and the Promise of Pluralism
Antonio Guterres | Annual Pluralism Lecture
UN High Commissioner for Refugees
May 29, 2014

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Pluralism: A Key Challenge of the 21st Century
Kofi Annan | Annual Pluralism Lecture
Former UN Secretary-General, member of the Centre's Board
May 23, 2013

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Valuing Diversity: The Australian Experience
Her Excellency Quentin Bryce AC CVO | Partnership Event

Governor-General of Australia
April 5, 2013

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Prospects for Democracy and Pluralism in Central Asia: Lessons from the Kyrgyz Republic
Her Excellency Roza Otunbayeva | Annual Pluralism Lecture
Former President of the Kyrgyz Republic
May 28, 2012

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10th Annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture
His Highness the Aga Khan | External Event
Chairman of the Board of Directors
October 15, 2010

At the invitation of the Institute for Canadian Citizenship , His Highness the Aga Khan delivered the tenth annual LaFontaine-Baldwin Lecture in Toronto on October 15, 2010. In his remarks, His Highness outlines the case for a world that values diversity and seeks harmony with counterpoint.

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Pluralism Papers

PLURALISM PAPERS features research and analysis by the Centre and our global research partners. The series launched in January 2012 with the publication of Defining Pluralism, available here in English and French.

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Global Vantages

pluralismwordcloud resourcesGLOBAL VANTAGES are short notes based on the presentations and interview transcripts of knowledge partners visiting the Centre. This collection includes reflections by Knut Vollebaek, OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities, South African peacemaker Vasu Gounden and Canadian academic Will Kymlicka, among others.

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