Home page Help page Preferences page
Search for specific termsBrowse by ThemesBrowse by Geographical RegionBrowse by MOST DocumentsBrowse by How ToBrowse alphabetical list of titles

Policy Paper no. 4 - Multiculturalism: New Policy Responses to Diversity
Open this page in a new windowDon't highlight search terms

Management of Social Transformations (MOST) - UNESCO

Policy Paper - No. 4

Multiculturalism: New Policy Responses to Diversity


Christine Inglis

also available in French and in Spanish (in PDF Format)

Table of contents

The United Nations and Ethnic Diversity
Multiculturalism and the Need for New Policy Responses to Diversity Contemporary Influences on Patterns of Ethnic Diversity The Changing Nature of Multi-ethnic Societies
Recurring Policy Issues in Multi-ethnic Societies
The Policy Models of Multi-ethnic States
Multiculturalism in Practice: Australia, Canada and Sweden The Broader Applicability of Multiculturalism as a Policy Response Conclusion
Box 1 Major Instruments of the United Nations System on Non-Discrimination, Rights of Minorities and the Rights of Indigenous People
Box 2 Selected Policy Issues
Box 3 Australian Multicultural Policy Initiatives
Box 4 Public Opinion on Multiculturalism in Australia and Canada


The "rediscovery" of ethnicity and cultural identities created an awareness of the need to cope with the management of ethnic and cultural diversity through policies which promote ethnic and cultural minority groups' participation in, and access to the resources of society, while maintaining the unity of the country. That diversity characterizes the great majority of the countries in the world, and that with the end of the cold war and bipolar international order, identitarian claims of ethnic, religious and cultural varieties are becoming stronger, are well-known facts. Such developments, which sometimes lead to conflictual situations and tragedies such as in Bosnia and Rwanda, seriously challenge the States, which respond to it through different policies, which range from assimilationism and integrationism, to differentialism. The latter, not always intentionally conceived, involves indirect exclusion, implicit in social, economic, cultural and institutional practices, as well as active exclusion, which may go as far as apartheid and even genocide (Gamson, 1995). Multiculturalism is a democratic policy response for coping with cultural and social diversity in society. The analysis offered here takes an in-depth look at multiculturalist policies and assesses their advantages and limitations.

Multiculturalism, as a systematic and comprehensive response to cultural and ethnic diversity, with educational, linguistic, economic and social components and specific institutional mechanisms, has been adopted by a few countries, notably Australia, Canada and Sweden.

Understandably, multiculturalism as a search for democratic public policy responses to cultural and ethnic diversity in certain countries is of prime interest to UNESCO, in so far as it embodies the ideal of reconciling respect for diversity with concerns for societal cohesion and the promotion of universally shared values and norms. While UNESCO's Constitution stresses the "fruitful diversity of cultures", its highest principle is "the intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind". UNESCO's ideals in this field are well illustrated by the following quotation from Montesquieu (1949): "Je suis nécessairement homme […] et je ne suis français que par hasard" (1).

The study of multiculturalism is a core subject for the MOST program. Several international MOST projects are on topics relating to the management of multi-ethnic and multicultural societies (2).

The following paper by Christine Inglis examines how specific multicultural policies have operated and assesses their potential for coping with diversity. It focuses on three countries - Australia, Canada and Sweden - where multiculturalism has been in practice for quite some time. Despite the complexity of the issues, the differences between these three countries and the very specific cases of the "first nations" or indigenous populations, their policies are founded on the respect of individual human rights and a civic and contractual definition of citizenship, rather than on ethnic and cultural communitarianism. This is probably a fundamental feature which distinguishes multiculturalism in its modern guise, from the traditional cases of the more or less conflictual co-existence of self-centred ethnic and religious communities.

This probably is the fundamental feature which distinguishes democratic multicultural policies (also minimizing the risk of inter-ethnic conflicts) from the community-based management of diversity. This type of policy is less compatible with democracy, and likely to induce authoritarian and differentialist practices, as well as conflicts between self-centred communities.

The remarkable analyses of Christine Inglis that we are pleased to publish in this MOST Policy Paper, are the outcome of a long maturation. First and foremost, they are the products of the scholarship and experience of the author. They were supported by an earlier, collective effort by several specialists, including C. Inglis herself, as well as Nadia Auriat from the MOST program staff, towards a MOST paper entitled "Multiculturalism: A Policy Response to Diversity", which was presented at the "1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference", that took place in April 1995, in Sydney, Australia (3). We are grateful to Christine Inglis and to all other scholars who contributed to further the work of the MOST program in the area of the management of multicultural and multi-ethnic societies.

    Ali Kazancigil
    Executive Secretary, MOST Program
    Director, Division of Social Sciences,
    Research and Policy, UNESCO


Ethnic and racial diversity is not a new phenomenon even if there has been considerable variation in the terms used to describe societies which include within their boundaries diverse ethnic groups (4). Historically, the patterns of ethnic relations and the extent to which they are associated with incidences of inter-ethnic conflict have been extremely varied. Many schema have been developed to explain the emergence of inter-ethnic conflict and the part played in it by specific contextual factors and institutional patterns ranging from imperial expansion and colonisation to contract labour and settler immigration (e.g. Banton 1967; Blalock 1967; van den Berghe 1967; Schermerhorn 1970; Richmond 1994). Despite their theoretical differences, the schema highlight how frequently inter-ethnic relations are associated with considerable differentials in the access to power and material resources of dominant and minority ethnic groups. Furthermore, patterns of ethnic relationship are rarely static, but evolve and change. As a consequence, peaceful coexistence may be fragile and problematic.

The inclusion of the study of multi-ethnic and multicultural (5) societies within UNESCO's MOST (Management of Social Transformation) Program attests to the contemporary national and international importance attached to ethnicity and pluralism. There are two dimensions to this focus on ethnicity. The first, more positive, concern is related to the rapid expansion of tourism, international student exchanges and new patterns of global financial and commercial relationships. Through these relationships increasing numbers of people from diverse ethnic backgrounds now come into regular contact. Considerable importance is attached by the participants to ensuring that these educational, economic and cultural relationships develop amicably and constructively, and that ethnic differences in cultural patterns, customs and expectations do not become a hindrance in the development of the relationships.

In contrast, the second focus is on more negative aspects of inter-ethnic contact. Here, the widespread interest in ethnicity is, regrettably, largely a reflection of the graphic images of ethnic conflict and violence which daily are brought into our homes by television, radio and newspapers. Although representing only a fraction of the daily contacts between individuals from different ethnic backgrounds, these images have come to typify for many academics, policy-makers and members of the general public the reality, and the dangers, associated with the existence of ethnic diversity.

The impact of these images is all the more striking because of the influence throughout this century of social theorists as diverse as Durkheim, Weber and Marx who argued that, as a concomitant of the 19th century emergence of modern-industrial society, ethnic groups had lost their saliency in the lives of individuals. Along with kinship and other status-based forms of social differentiation, ethnicity was to be replaced by class as the driving force in social organisation. Ethnicity and racial differences were viewed as anachronisms restricted to pre-modern or traditional societies. This orthodoxy was shared by social commentators and policy-makers who believed that assimilation of ethnic minority groups had either occurred or was in progress. World cultural homogenisation typified in the 'global village' presaged a quickening of this type of development. Even in those industrial nations such as Australia, Canada or the USA which continued to receive large numbers of immigrants, assimilation was viewed as the inevitable process.

The 'rediscovery' of ethnicity over the last decade has been accompanied by an increasing awareness among decision-makers of the need to develop policies which will contribute to the development of harmonious relations between diverse ethnic groups. This paper is concerned with the potential of multiculturalism to constitute such a policy response. Multiculturalism provides for some a way forward in addressing the challenges posed by the growth of conflict and violence associated with ethnic differences. For others it portrays the dangerous divisiveness associated with ethnic and cultural diversity. These contrasting perspectives on multiculturalism reflect very different assessments of contemporary trends involving ethnic diversity and the outcomes of strategies designed to address them.

Much of the debate about multiculturalism and the emergence of conflictual and socially divisive ethnic groupings has addressed ethical and philosophical concerns. In contrast, this paper focuses on the level of policy initiatives and the outcomes associated with attempts by policy makers to address the daily challenges not only of policy-making but of policy implementation. Policy-makers do not, however, work in a vacuum insulated from international concerns about basic principles of justice, equality and democracy. The United Nations and other international organisations have established a number of Conventions and other instruments to guide policy-makers in multi-ethnic societies.

The United Nations and Ethnic Diversity

The founders of the United Nations, half a century ago, in the aftermath of the Second World War were motivated by a desire for international co-operation to ensure peace, development and respect for the rights of individuals. Based on the stark evidence of the experiences of Jews, Gypsies and other ethnic minorities who had been victims of genocide in the Second World War they were also aware of the need to address the situation of ethnic minorities.

A brief listing of certain instruments of the United Nations and its Specialized Agencies concerned with non-discrimination and the rights of minority groups, highlights some of the more pressing issues the organisations have addressed in considering the situation of members of indigenous people and persons belonging to ethnic minorities (see Box 1). From their inception, both organisations emphasised the importance of culture and cultural rights. The Charter of the United Nations referred in Article 1 to the importance of culture and the Constitution of UNESCO also refers to the 'fruitful diversity of cultures'. In 1948 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights provided for the first time for the respect of cultural rights when Article 22 stated that everyone is entitled to realisation of the cultural rights indispensable for dignity and the free development of personality. Of special importance is Article 27 of the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which states that:

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities exist, persons belonging to such minorities should not be denied the right, in community with the other members of their group, to enjoy their own culture, to profess and practice their own religion, or to use their own language.

The 1992 Declaration on the Rights of Persons belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities extended these rights to also include the rights of persons belonging to minorities to participate effectively in cultural, religious, social, economic and public life, as well as in the decision-making process concerning the minority to which they belong; to establish and monitor their own associations; to establish and maintain, without any discrimination, free and peaceful contacts with other members of their group or other citizens of other States to whom they are related by national or ethnic, religious or linguistic ties (MOST, 1995 Annex I).

The importance of the rights of ethnic minorities has also been recognised by other international organisations. The Conference on Security and Co-operation in Europe (CSCE) in 1991, for example, adopted a declaration on the Rights of National Minorities. The Council of Europe has also been very concerned with these issues. In 1992 it adopted the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, and in 1994, the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities.

The designation of 1995 as the Year of Tolerance was evidence of the ongoing complexity involved in seeking to obtain peaceful coexistence among those from different ethnic groups. Yet its importance is highlighted in the following quote from Kymlicka (1995, pp.194-5) (6).

In many countries of the world -including the emerging democracies in Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia - the status of national minorities and indigenous peoples is perhaps the most pressing issue.

People in these countries are looking to the works of Western liberals for guidance regarding the principles of liberal constitutionalism in a multinational state. But a liberal tradition offers only confused and contradictory advice on this question...This is reflected in the wide range of policies liberal states have historically adopted regarding ethnic and national groups, ranging from coercive assimilation to coercive segregation, from conquest and colonisation to federalism and self-government.

...If liberalism is to have any chance of taking hold in these countries, it must explicitly address the needs and aspirations of ethnic and national minorities.

Multiculturalism and the Need for New Policy Responses to Ethnic Diversity

In less than three decades 'multiculturalism' has become a word immediately recognised by policy makers, social commentators, academics and the general public in Western industrial countries, if not elsewhere. The rapid adoption of the term 'multiculturalism' has occurred in a situation where there is increasing international concern about the limitations of existing policies to address changing patterns of inter-ethnic relations. Recognition does not, however, ensure uniformity in usage. Three major levels of usage are distinguished here, as a means of bringing some clarity into the debate over the relevance of 'multiculturalism' to policy development in multi-ethnic societies (7).

Multiculturalism: A Clarification of the Concept

Three interrelated, but nevertheless distinctive, referents of 'multiculturalism' and its related adjective 'multicultural' which can be distinguished in public debate and discussion are: the demographic-descriptive, the ideological-normative and the programmatic-political.

The demographic-descriptive usage occurs where 'multicultural' is used to refer to the existence of ethnically or racially diverse segments in the population of a society or State. It represents a perception that such differences have some social significance-primarily because of perceived cultural differences though these are frequently associated with forms of structural differentiation. The precise ethnic groupings which exist in a State, the significance of ethnicity for social participation in societal institutions and the processes through which ethnic differentiation is constructed and maintained may vary considerably between individual States, and over time.

In the programmatic-political usage 'multiculturalism' refers to specific types of programs and policy initiatives designed to respond to and manage ethnic diversity. It was in this usage that 'multiculturalism' first gained currency after it was recommended in the 1965 Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. This Report recommended that multiculturalism replace the bicultural policy based on the British and French Charter groups around whom policies for ethnic diversity in Canadian society had been organised for over a century. Since then, its usage has extended rapidly to encompass the demographic-descriptive' and the 'ideological-normative' usage.

The ideological-normative usage of multiculturalism is that which generates the greatest level of debate since it constitutes a slogan and model for political action based on sociological theorising and ethical-philosophical consideration about the place of those with culturally distinct identities in contemporary society. Multiculturalism emphasises that acknowledging the existence of ethnic diversity and ensuring the rights of individuals to retain their culture should go hand in hand with enjoying full access to, participation in, and adherence to, constitutional principles and commonly shared values prevailing in the society. By acknowledging the rights of individuals and groups and ensuring their equitable access to society, advocates of multiculturalism also maintain that such a policy benefits both individuals and the larger society by reducing pressures for social conflict based on disadvantage and inequality. They also argue that multiculturalism is an enrichment for the society as a whole. The close parallels between this ideological-normative usage of multiculturalism and the United Nations' views on cultural diversity are clear.

Critiques of Multiculturalism

Such a positive assessment of cultural diversity is not, however, universal. Critics argue that positive support of cultural diversity, or multiculturalism, has the potential to foster highly divisive social conflicts. In support of this position they cite the international resurgence of ethnic conflict. One of the strongest statements of the dangers inherent in cultural diversity is Huntington's highly contentious thesis on the clash of civilisations in which religion is argued to play a crucial role (8). The theoretical support for this and similar expressions of fear about the continuing threats to social cohesion posed by ethnic and cultural diversity derives from one strand of theorising about modernity. Contrary to the earlier theories on the declining importance of ethnicity, it is argued that the contemporary processes of modernisation and globalisation are actively contributing to the growing importance of ethnicity and the increased significance of communitarian ties (9). What is frequently under-theorised in this type of analysis is the role of the State and the capacities of social policy to intervene in this process so as to reduce the potential for conflict.

For some critics of multiculturalism, however, their critique is directed at what they perceive to be the outcome of the implementation of multicultural policies. Thus assertions that educational reforms in the USA which allow for the inclusion of alternative perspectives into the history or literature curriculum are leading to the disuniting of American society, or the undermining of the foundations of Western civilisation, are clearly a response to shifts in educational programs and practice (e.g. Schlesinger 1992). It is also true that advocates of such changes frequently justify their appeals by reference to multiculturalism. In doing so they highlight its potential to provide an alternative policy model to redress perceived ethnic disadvantage and injustice (10). However, because there are only limited examples of States where explicit multicultural programs and policies have been implemented, the debates on the actual effects of a policy of multiculturalism all too often proceed with little reference to empirical evidence.

The objective of this paper is to redress the imbalance by examining how specific multicultural programs and policies have operated and to assess multiculturalism's potential to provide the much sought after new policy response to ethnic diversity. Before this can be done a number of questions must be answered.

What are the social changes which are driving the search for new policy responses to diversity?

How have such changes affected contemporary forms of multi-ethnic societies?

What are the existing policy models used by States in managing ethnic diversity?

Contemporary Influences on Patterns of Ethnic Diversity

The last half century has been characterised by dramatic political and economic changes. The emergence of new States, the end of the Cold War, the crisis of the Welfare State, economic and cultural globalisation and massive increases in all forms of international population movements are among the most prominent developments affecting opportunities for inter-ethnic contact and resultant patterns of ethnic relations. The impact on ethnic relations of the increased momentum of these changes over the last decade has been a driving force in the search for new policy responses.

Political Change

The emergence of new States which have to confront issues of ethnicity on a daily basis has been one of the most visible political developments over the last half century. Decolonisation and the collapse of communist regimes have been the major reasons for the formation of new States. The extent of these changes is indicated by the growth in the membership of the United Nations from the original 50 countries in 1945 to the present 185 member States.

The Second World War marks a watershed in the history of European colonisation. By 1984, 85 former colonies had become independent States (United Nations 1984). The process still continues albeit at a slightly slower pace with, for example, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Namibia gaining independence in 1990. An enduring geo-political legacy of colonisation are the boundaries of the contemporary states which are based on those of the former colonial powers and encompass often diverse, regionally-based ethnic groups. In addition these States often include the descendants of migrant labourers brought in to work on the European plantations, mines and other economic ventures. In Asia and the Pacific, Chinese and Indians played an important part in this labour migration which in Africa also involved significant numbers of labourers from elsewhere in Africa. In many cases these labourers became the middleman trading minorities who played an important role in commerce and the economy.

After decolonisation nation-building was a critical task for the new political leadership and involved not only establishing their economic viability but constructing a stable and viable State through incorporation of these diverse ethnic groups. None of these States shared the illusion underlying the formation of the European nation-states that they were reuniting an ethnically homogeneous population. The alliances forged in the anti- colonial struggle provided a starting point for the establishment of the new regimes. Regionally-based separatist movements and concerns about the economic power of the middleman groups, who rarely were accorded political power in the immediate post-independence period, nevertheless were major issues confronting new States. Those Asian countries with extensive overseas Chinese populations were also concerned about the intentions of the new communist regime in China and the potential of the local Chinese population to be a focus for communist China's expansionist political aspirations.

Given the many difficulties confronting countries in the post-independence period it is somewhat surprising that the colonial administrator Furnivall's predictions concerning the fragility of post-colonial States did not result in greater ethnic turmoil and instability in governments (11). Successful breakaway movements such as those which led to the creation of Bangladesh have been relatively rare. Yet, the continuation of such movements in many countries attests to the strength of divisive pressures, especially where exacerbated by differential regional development. Armed resistance by separatist ethnic groups is the norm, rather than the exception, in many parts of Africa and Asia. Yet, in Asia, the position of the Chinese and other non-indigenous minorities has become less significant as a source of conflict as a result of the economic and social changes associated with economic development and political changes within China.

The collapse of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the break-up of the former USSR has, as with decolonisation, led to the emergence of new States many of which contain within their boundaries significant ethnic minorities. Some minorities have been resident in specific regions for centuries. Others, including Russians, settled or were deported to now independent States during Soviet rule. In these new States an extension of Furnivall's theory to include the destabilising effects of the removal of the old regime is particularly relevant given the violent ethnically linked conflicts between contending political leaderships. The situation in ex-Yugoslavia is the clearest example of the intractability of such conflicts when ethnic loyalties have been mobilised in support of competing territorial claims and where the former institutional supports promoting integration and coexistence have collapsed. But such conflict is not inevitable, as the negotiated division of Czechoslovakia into the separate Czech and Slovak Republics shows.

The end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet-led power bloc has been associated with a further element of political uncertainty potentially affecting the incidence of ethnic conflict. The two super powers no longer have the same interest, or ability in the case of Russia, to control or direct the expression of internal conflicts within former client States or States within their sphere of political influence. In this vacuum the external influences towards moderation which might once have been exercised are no longer operative. This creates opportunities for ambitious political groups and leaders to pursue their quest for power by often violent means as is especially evident in Somalia and other parts of Africa.

A more optimistic example of the ability of States to survive a major change in their political regimes without major ethnic violence is provided by the Republic of South Africa. At the time of the 1994 elections which led to the replacement of the White government by the multi-racial government of national unity led by Nelson Mandela widespread predictions were made about the likelihood of violence between the various ethnic groups. While South Africa still experiences extremely high levels of violence and killing, even in the region of Kwazulu-Natal inter-ethnic rivalries can only partially account for the ongoing violence involving supporters of the African National Congress and the Inkatha Freedom Party since Zulus support both Inkatha and the ANC. Elsewhere, the violence and killings are indiscriminate and motivated by criminal intent rather than a result of attempts by Africans to target individuals who belong to other African ethnic groups or to other races such as the Coloureds, Indians or Europeans. The ability of the new regime to survive such highly destabilising events indicates the potential of appropriate policies to reduce the damaging effects of ethnically-linked political rivalry. It also confirms how 'South Africans defied the logic of their past, and broke all the rules of political theory, to forge a powerful spirit of unity from a shattered nation' (Magubane, 1995 p.3).

Less obvious than the political changes associated with the emergence of new States and political regimes are changes in the specific objectives and ideologies guiding government policy-making. The demise of communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the consequent moves to establish free market economies have reduced the potential for new successor governments to adopt policies to redress structural disadvantage and inequalities among ethnic groups. At the same time, the legitimation crisis confronting the Welfare State in many Western industrial societies is also calling into question the ability, and willingness, of their governments to commit expenditure to address inequality especially when such expenditure may be viewed as benefiting minority interests. The contemporary significance of reductions in governmental capacity to address issues of ethnic inequality and disadvantage has not been extensively explored, but such loss of capacity has the potential to be an important constraint on the development of policies which may ameliorate ethnic tensions where these are linked to structural inequalities in society.


Globalisation, the word which has rapidly gained currency as describing the processes characterising the growing inter-connection and interdependence in the world has three readily identifiable dimensions (Waters, 1994). The primary economic dimension involves those changes associated with the expansion and restructuring of international economic relations. These dramatic changes in economic flows of goods, services, labour and capital have been associated with the post-World War Two emergence of major new economic bases outside the Western industrial economies of Europe and North America. The role of the oil-producing countries of the Middle East in the 1970s oil crisis and the emergence of Japan and the newly industrialising economies of Asia including Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan as major independent economic actors has involved significant economic, social and political changes in these societies. The effects have also been felt in the older Western industrial societies whose economies have undergone major restructuring with consequent social change and dislocation resulting from the decline of the traditional manufacturing industries on which their economies were based.

Another important dimension of globalisation involves the development of a homogeneous world-wide culture such as was first foreshadowed by McLuhan when he wrote of the 'global village' (1964). With the extensive and rapid innovations in telecommunications and the increasing ease, speed and afford-ability of international travel, cultural products and forms now can be disseminated globally with great effectiveness.

The third, political dimension, is a product of the economic and cultural dimensions. It involves a perception that the autonomy and policy making capability of the State is being undermined by the moves to economic and cultural internationalisation (12). For the individual, the technological revolution in communications means that social networks readily cross national boundaries with the aid of cheap speedy travel, the telephone, fax and Internet. Another trend which further constrains the power of individual States is the development of supra-national political groupings, often growing out of a desire for closer economic ties, as with the European Union. The existence of these supra-national entities also is seen as providing opportunities for regional political entities to bypass the nation State and so assume greater significance.

Inevitably, there is dispute about the precise extent to which these trends, such as the loss of power of the State, have occurred. The significance of such a disappearance has been put dramatically by one commentator (Waters, 1994 p.234) who noted that a consequence would be the disappearance of our present institutions of citizenship, welfare rights and liberal democracy. While such a development may not be imminent, nevertheless the comments highlight the ways in which globalisation is rendering problematic many key political institutions which have hitherto played an important role in the management of multi-ethnic societies.

Agreement about the scope of changes associated with globalisation does not ensure agreement, however, on the desirability of the outcomes or how they may be theorised (Waters, 1994). While an emphasis on the integrating and cultural homogenising effect of globalisation suggests a positive contribution towards overcoming conflict between ethnic groups, there are many indications that this is outweighed by more negative developments involving the breakdown of the older nexus between nation, state, societal community and territory (Waters 1994, p.232).

Often the processes of globalisation involve tensions. What may appear as a relatively isolated minority group in a multi-ethnic society must also be understood as part of an international network (McLellan and Richmond 1994 pp.665-6). As a consequence there may be tensions between membership in a nation-state and participation in an international diasporic community.

As McLellan and Richmond (1994, p.666) also note, frequently there are contradictions within the processes of globalisation. The logic of free movement in labour, goods, services and capital may be countered by protectionism and by the gatekeepers responsible under State policies for protecting borders from illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. Similarly, while the processes of regionalisation may be conducive to separatist movements in Scotland or Catalonia, whether such regions will establish their own political independence may involve considerations somewhat different from those which have resulted in the break-up of the USSR or the former Yugoslavia.

While bearing in mind the contradictions inherent in globalisation, one of its most frequently cited concomitants is the rise of ethno-nationalist movements. Such movements which involve a development out of ethnic communities, or ethnies (Smith 1994, p.382), speak to the material or other advantages which their supporters seek to achieve through gaining independence. Often such movements are viewed as compensating for the alienation of modern society thereby linking them not to 'class' politics but to the politics of 'identity' in which cultural factors predominate.

Implicit in much of the writing about the replacement of "class" by "identity" or "cultural" politics is the belief that these new movements have a strong irrational component. While this contributes to their potency, it also makes them less susceptible to political compromise or acceptance of the rights of other cultural groups. Such a view predisposes critics to group together as highly dangerous to the stability of the State many very different forms of ethnic mobilisation extending from fundamentalist religious groups and militant nationalists to those working to achieve much more limited objectives involving access to education, health or other institutions for their co- ethnics. Just as the earlier acceptance of simple theories of modern society led to an overly unquestioning acceptance of the decline of ethnicity, their replacement may equally inappropriately see ethnic minorities, and what has been referred to as the politics of recognition associated with 'multiculturalism' (Taylor, 1994), as inevitably producing ethnic conflict and the disruption of the society and State.

Whereas much of the consideration of globalisation's effects has addressed its impact on ethnic minorities, a somewhat different perspective considers its impact on the development of racism. Wieviorka and his colleagues thus write of the ways in which the decline of what he refers to as the national industrial state in selected European countries has been associated with new forms of racism among the dominant population (e.g. 1992; 1993; 1994). The targets of this new racism are the immigrants who now constitute a significant segment of the population in many European countries.

The Increase in International Population Movements

One of the most significant factors directly affecting the contemporary ethnic composition of many societies is the exponential increase in international population movements which commenced in the 1980s. These movements are one of the major features of globalisation. The political and economic changes which underlie these movements differ from the previous major wave of international migration in the 19th and 20th centuries which saw an exodus of voluntary emigrants from Europe to the New World. There was also the less well known labour migration from Asia, especially China, to the Americas and Australasia as well as to South East Asia. The numbers involved in the contemporary migrations are now far larger. One estimate which excluded the former USSR and ex-Yugoslavia was that some 80 million people now live in foreign lands (Stalker 1994, p.3). They also involve flows from, and to, a much wider range of countries. In Europe, former sending countries are now major receiving countries; the Middle East receives large numbers of workers from Asia and North Africa while within Asia the expanding economies in many countries have been associated with extensive labour immigration (13). Refugees now comprise a significant number of those moving in Africa, Asia and Europe.

The characteristics of the migrants are now more varied with women becoming increasingly involved in labour migration and refugee movements. There is also a growing movement of highly skilled technical, professional and managerial workers. At the same time, the actual forms of movement are also becoming more diversified. Permanent immigration and short-term labour migration now exist alongside refugee movements while there are also increasing movements by asylum seekers or those without legal status or documentation. International students too are a significant component in movements as are business people and tourists.

A final significant change in recent international population movements is the involvement of the State. Governmental regulations now govern criteria for entry and residence and their operation is an important political issue. The regime of control which surrounds international population movements has also come to involve increasing international co-operation as individual States realise that individual policies of selection and control are only of limited effect in the face of the pressures for more extensive immigration. Well known examples include the Schengen agreement involving European Union member states and the Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed in 1988-89. The latter plan developed to address extensive Vietnamese emigration involved countries of first asylum, other countries in Southeast Asia, and resettlement countries as well, most significantly, as the source country of the boat people, Vietnam.

1. Refugee movements: Refugee movements are one type of international population movement which has continued to expand. Despite difficulties of defining refugees and others involved in forced migrations it is clear that there has been a massive increase in the numbers of those colloquially described as 'refugees'. Whereas in the early 1970s the estimated number of refugees was 2.5 million, by 1994 the total population described as being 'of concern' to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) had increased to some 27.4 million. A year earlier the figure had been 23 million (UNHCR 1995, p.9). An even higher estimate of 40 million may be necessary to include all those involved in forced migration, whether as refugees, or in refugee-like situations or as displaced persons (Rogers 1992, p.1112).

Included in the UNHCR figure of 27.4 million were some 14.4 million individuals who fitted the restricted UN Convention definition of refugee (14), together with 5.4 million persons who were internally displaced in their own countries and 7.5 million other persons including war victims, asylum seekers and returnees. The majority (43 per cent) was located in Africa, with most of the remainder being located in Asia (29 per cent) and Europe (24 per cent) (UNHCR 1995, p.9).

The rapid increase in individuals involved in forced migrations is dramatic testimony to the impact of political instability on international population movements. Not all the instability has an ethnic dimension as a central feature, but, once individuals become involved in international population movements, their own presence can contribute to changes in the ethnic composition of countries where they seek refuge or are resettled. However, the impact of refugees is more limited than their numbers would suggest because of the international management system which has been developed for handling refugees and those in refugee-like situations (15). The ultimate aim of this system is return and only a small proportion of those classified as refugees according to the UN Convention are actually resettled in third countries usually in North America, Australasia and Europe.

2. Asylum seekers: Far more numerous than these 'official' refugees are those seeking to gain residence in these regions through claims for asylum. Their numbers have increasingly presented major political challenges for governments, especially those in the Western democracies. On the one hand governments wish to maintain the impression that they are in control of population movements yet they also experience pressures to show compassion towards the victims of political instability and persecution. Where they accept refugees for resettlement under schemes organised by the UNHCR, or where they maintain an immigration program which provides some flexibility for accepting individual immigrants, they then have some way of satisfying both these pressures. However, in many cases, the absence of such schemes, in association with high levels of demand for asylum from individuals arriving at their borders, have placed considerable pressure on governments.

The issue of asylum seekers is especially significant in Europe where the numbers have increased dramatically to be 680,000 in 1992 two-thirds of whom sought asylum on arrival in Germany. Since the asylum seekers are often from ethnic groups new in a country, issues relating to their appropriate treatment may also become linked to hostility directed to them as 'strangers'. Fuelling this hostility as the numbers of asylum seekers increased has been the perception that many are motivated more by hopes for economic gain than by direct political persecution (16). Against this background of fear and suspicion, the appeal of a Fortress Europe to keep out the new hordes has been strong. While the large influxes from Eastern Europe and the former USSR have not arrived on the borders of Western Europe (Coleman, 1994, p.6; OECD 1995, p.58) governments have nevertheless increasingly supplemented strict entry requirements for asylum seekers and other immigrants from outside the European Union by bilateral and multilateral initiatives (17). 'Fortress Europe' however represents more an aspiration than an easily achievable goal. Outside Europe, especially in Africa and Asia the dimensions of the refugee problem are even greater while the resources to respond to it are far smaller (18).

3. Permanent immigration: While the growth in refugee numbers and those seeking asylum have increased dramatically, they constitute only one part of the international population flows. In sharp contrast to these flows are those where States actively encourage and facilitate the entry and settlement of immigrants, including relatively easy access to citizenship. Examples of such States are Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States where the national ethos and identity is very much based on European settlement and subsequent development. Another major immigrant nation is Israel whose identity derives from being the homeland of the Jewish people (19). Each of these States has experienced major changes in immigration over the last decade. For Israel, the collapse of the former USSR and Eastern European communist regimes has been associated with major inflows of immigrants. In the other four States, a common feature has been the increasing diversification in the countries of origins of the immigrants with Asian and Pacific countries becoming increasingly important through-out the 1980s. The US has also experienced significant inflows from Mexico (20).

The actual numbers of immigrants to each of the countries has varied as a result of governmental administrative decisions and legislation. In all the countries the size of the immigration program, especially in a time of recession, has become a political issue. While Australia reduced its intake of immigrants after the 1989 peak because of its economic recession, Canada pursued an expansionary policy to achieve its aim of one-quarter of a million immigrants by 1992. The United States has most recently experienced immigration numbers in excess of one million with a peak of 1.82 million in 1992 largely as a result of the way in which the annual immigration figures included the large numbers of already resident persons who were able to legalise their residence status under the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act.

4. Contract labour: Immigration is not, however, confined to countries of permanent settlement. With the rapid expansion of the global economy many economies are experiencing labour market shortages which are filled by use of short term, contract labour. Most OECD countries now have positive net migration (OECD 1995, p.11) but the need for migrant labour is not confined to them. The preference for short term contract labour evident in the post-war economic reconstruction of Europe is also evident in Middle-Eastern and many Asian countries. This preference is associated with the greater economic flexibility which is perceived to be associated with such labour, especially where the labour migrants are from a different ethnic or religious background. Not only does the 'foreignness' of such labour facilitate their separation from the local population but the absence of family or other ties is perceived to make them easier to remove from the society when they are no longer needed. The experience of Germany and other European countries with their guest worker immigration is, however, that the believed flexibility in the labour force is often illusory.

5. Future developments: The variety and extent of international population movements shows little evidence of ending of its own volition given the range of economic and political pressures encouraging movement. International networks of immigrants are also creating an additional momentum and opportunity for movement. Yet, there is continuing evidence that a stabilisation of population movements evident in OECD countries in 1992 had continued into 1993 and 1994 (OECD, 1995, p.13). The major reason for this is attributed to the effects of recent measures to control immigration by host countries rather than a fall in the potential for migration (OECD, 1995 p.11). As the OECD report notes, the effectiveness of such institutional controls may be only partial in the absence of the development of employment opportunities in the countries of emigration (OECD, 1995 p.11) or, it might be added, in the absence of political stability.

The increasing international importance of immigration as a domestic political issue and the associated efforts of governments to control the population flows may often be seen as a response to both the size of the flows and, also, to the increasing diversity of source countries which has continued in the case of Asian movements for over a decade. In Australia, Canada and the USA the major increase in the percentage of immigrants from Asia and the Pacific has also been associated with a decline in European immigration only partially offset by those arriving from Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union since 1990. Japan too has become a major destination of migrants from elsewhere in Asia and there has been increasing intra-Asian movement affecting other industrialising economies in Asia including Singapore, Korea, Taiwan and Malaysia as well as Hong Kong. In European countries earlier patterns of migration continued with Switzerland receiving migrants from Southern Europe, France from North Africa and the United Kingdom from South Asia. But there were also newer patterns associated with East-West flows which especially affected Germany, Austria and Sweden. While in Germany, Poles and Romanians dominated, in the other two countries those from the former Yugoslavia were more numerous among the new migrants (OECD 1995, p.16).

A final significant change in the patterns of immigration is that migrants from the one source area now may enter a country on the basis of increasingly diverse criteria. Of especial interest is the growth in temporary workers and highly-skilled migrants and the decrease in the numbers of asylum seekers which are an outgrowth of host country policies for selection and control (OECD, 1995). Such changes have the potential to increase the diversity within migrant, ethnic minorities. In particular, they can minimise the extent to which migrant minorities are necessarily viewed as an undifferentiated mass of disadvantaged or exploitable workers. In many countries there is a growing pool of the non-citizen population, business people, students and skilled workers who may share with members of the local technical and professional middle classes common educational and occupational experiences.

The Changing Nature of Multi-ethnic Societies

As a result of the political, economic and demographic changes which have occurred over the last 50 years, diversity in patterns of ethnic relations and in the range of ethnic identities, is a hallmark of the great majority of societies in all regions of the world. Indeed, only 10 to 15 per cent of countries can be reasonably described as ethnically homogeneous (Connor, 1994; Väryinen, 1994). States which had lacked substantial ethnic minorities now find that they are having to address issues of ethnic diversity and determine appropriate policy responses. In those States with longer histories of ethnic diversity, recent developments have been associated with changing relations between their long-standing minorities. At the same time, there is a need to incorporate newer ethnic groups as a result of new international population flows, some encouraged, others unwanted, by the individual governments.

The patterns of ethnic relations are most fluid, and often violent, in those new States which have recently gained their independence as a result of the break-up of former States and federations in Europe or where former colonies are still trying to establish a stable government structure. Where former colonies have been able to establish a viable political structure new relationships have been forged among the native-born ethnic groups who have been able to negotiate access to legal citizenship.

In those cases where the countries have experienced economic growth and development such as has occurred in the Asian region, the additional labour market needs have been satisfied through a process involving contract labour or illegal migration rather than settler immigration. In these instances, immigrant ethnic group membership has become associated with dis-advantage since the new immigrant ethnic groups lack citizenship and other rights to full social participation usually associated with permanent residence and enjoyed by long-established ethnic minorities. In the Middle East, Japan and Korea where contract labour has also been used, the difference in legal status is further compounded by marked social divisions between the migrant labour force and the dominant ethnic group with a strong sense of its homogeneity.

Nowhere is the range of variation in the co-existing patterns of ethnic relations more marked than in western European countries. The growth of diverse patterns has occurred since the Second World War and reflects the way these countries, with the exception of Ireland, have become de facto countries of immigration. When these newer immigrant ethnic groups are considered in addition to the long established regional ethnic minorities existing in many European countries, the complexity of the European patterns of ethnic diversity is evident both in terms of the specific ethnic groups involved and their legal status.

The first pattern of European immigrant relations involves contract or 'guest worker' labour which until the 1970's was used extensively by Germany, Switzerland and other European countries. Renewed needs for labour have seen a reintroduction of the practice. In 1993, for example, Germany introduced 181,000 such workers from Central and Eastern Europe, and there were 72,000 in Switzerland, 16,000 in Austria and 11,000 in France (OECD 1995, p.21). With the ending of the first wave of extensive contract labour in the 1970's European countries rapidly discovered that the departure of the workers and their families was not inevitable. Indeed, in Germany an important component of the population are the 1.9 million Turkish nationals (OECD 1995, p.202), guest workers and their children who, although recent changes to make German citizenship more accessible, still do not have German citizenship, despite many having been born there. Similar groups of non-citizens exist in many other European countries.

Another, important European source of international migrant labour are nationals from European Union member States who, since January 1992, have been able to move and work freely within the EU without the restrictions affecting non-EU contract labour. A third category of immigrants are those who came to European countries, especially immediately after the Second World War, and who had citizenship by virtue of being from the former colonies of countries such as the United Kingdom and France. On a similar basis Germany also accepted large numbers of Germans from the German Democratic Republic and Eastern Europe who also immediately acquired German citizenship. European countries also have populations of students, businessmen and refugees with a range of rights to residence. Further compounding the patterns of ethnic diversity in Europe are the numerous asylum seekers, illegal entrants and others who remain in individual countries under various legal restrictions.

Even in Australia, Canada and the USA, which have a long history of settler immigration, the new forms of immigration and the new source regions have introduced significant new dimensions in the relationships between existing ethnic minorities. The overlay of different institutional patterns of ethnic relations includes not only those of immigrant background but indigenous groups and, especially in the USA, an ethnic group, the African-Americans, whose relationship with other groups is influenced by their historical experience of slavery. Where these countries differ from many others is, however, an acceptance of immigration and permanent settlement for newer ethnic groups. This has a legal expression in relatively easy access to citizenship as in Australia where the basic requirement is two years of permanent residence.

Recurring Policy Issues in Multi-ethnic Societies

The diversity of multi-ethnic states in their institutional structures, patterns of ethnic relations and their constituent ethnic groupings ensures that the form of policy debates, and their outcomes, are highly varied. Nevertheless, certain themes are continually identified by those able to influence the formulation of policy as issues to be addressed and managed in contemporary multi-ethnic societies (21). Before examining these, there are certain policy issues which relate directly to the existing general patterns of institutional relations between the constituent ethnic groups.

The most urgent issue in States experiencing ongoing ethnically related political instability, or striving to re-establish a modus vivendi between ethnic groups in the wake of conflict involving physical violence, is the establishment of communication and contacts across ethnic boundaries which will allow for negotiations between groups and, for individuals, the regaining of a sense of personal security. Where genocide has been widespread as in the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda the task is especially difficult. When this is achieved the need then exists to address the causes which underlay the ethno-nationalist mobilisation.

The prime policy issue for States where a proportion of their ethnic minorities include contract or guest worker labour, asylum seekers or those without legal entrance status concerns the relationship of these groups to others who are citizens or enjoy permanent resident status. What is their access to social and welfare services, housing, health, education and employment? What rights do they have to participate in decision-making or to gain access to the legal system for redress of wrongs? What is the situation of their family members and dependants with regard to entry and residence status? Where States have long-term residents denied access to citizenship many of the same issues may apply to them and their family members, often including locally born children. The regularisation of resident status or opportunities to be naturalised become important issues. This is especially so where such changes remove ethnic minority members from a situation where they become caught in a web of exploitative labour and criminal activities contributing to the development of a disaffected and marginalised underclass.

States which have taken decisions in favour of regularisation and the further step of granting citizenship (22) to resident ethnic minorities face issues similar to States which have long-established ethnic minorities who have legal citizenship. These concern the integration of the minority group members and their relationship to the dominant ethnic group and other minorities. Policy issues which arise include opportunities to express, and to maintain distinctive elements of the ethnic culture, especially language and religion where these are associated with ethnic distinctiveness; the absence of ethnically linked social and economic disadvantage; opportunities to participate in political decision-making and the avoidance of racism and discrimination. An important symbolic issue is the involvement of minority groups in the formulation and expression of the national identity. Where a minority group has a distinctive territorial base the issue of the extent of its political independence may become an important issue.

A list of some common concerns from the perspective of the ethnic minorities are contained in Box 2. The importance of these issues may vary between groups and also over time. While it is apparent that often the ethnic minority and the State may be concerned about the same issue, the nature of their concern may differ. In the area of housing, for example, the State may be concerned to avoid the development of segregated housing areas while for members of the ethnic minority their concern may be focused on the availability of adequate quality housing without discrimination.

How the State responds to the policy issues of concern to ethnic minority groups depends very much on the type of model adopted to manage ethnic diversity.

The Policy Models of Multi-ethnic States

The growing international recognition of the importance of ethnic diversity ensures that States have shared concerns about the need to address this diversity in their policies and programs. While all have the objective of preventing ethnically-based conflict becoming destabilising the policy models favoured to achieve this objective, often referred to as 'integration', may be diametrically opposed (Baubock, 1995). The three policy models discussed below are abstract, ideal types based on specific ideological-normative statements concerning the relationship between ethnic groups in a society (23). Later in this paper, another level of policy will be identified - the programmatic-political-which involves actual policy initiatives and programs which have direct, and indirect, implications for ethnic relations. While there is the expectation of a close link between the ideological-normative and the programmatic-political levels of policy, the process of decision-making and implementation can result in a lack of congruence between the two levels.

At one extreme are policies based on an assimilationist model which envisages that ethnic minorities will be incorporated fully into the society and State through a process of individual change in which individuals abandon their distinctive linguistic, cultural and social characteristics and takes on those of the dominant group. In this model there is no place envisaged for the retention of distinctive cultural, linguistic or social practices. By being completely absorbed into the mainstream society it is argued that the bases for ethnically based conflict cease to exist. The role of the State in this model is limited since change is viewed as the individual's responsibility. No change is required by State legal, educational, welfare or health institutions although practices and institutions associated with separatism may be proscribed.

At the other extreme are policies based on a differentialist model whereby conflict is avoided through a process which eliminates or minimises contacts with ethnic minorities. An extreme version of this model involves the expulsion or 'ethnic cleansing' of ethnic minorities. Far more common forms, however, are policies which substantially restrict the participation of ethnic minority members in the mainstream society. The institutions of the State are not required to accommodate members of the ethnic minorities. The State, in contrast with the assimilationist model, may however allow, or in some cases sponsor, the development of parallel institutions catering in a minimal fashion for the educational, health or cultural needs of the ethnic minorities which they are excluded from satisfying within the mainstream institutions.

A third major approach to policies accepts the potential, and legitimacy, of ethnic minorities' cultural and social distinctiveness. The multiculturalism model envisages that individuals and groups can be fully incorporated into the society without either losing their distinctiveness or being denied full participation. This process of full participation is the key to the absence of ethnic conflict. In order to achieve this goal of full participation, the State institutions may need to be extensively modified so as to provide equally for those from different cultural and social backgrounds. In this process the State plays an active role of sponsoring institutional change which may extend from the restructuring of mainstream institutions to the support of parallel institutions. These parallel institutions are integral to the society in contrast to the marginalised status of the parallel institutional structures associated with the differentialist model.

Multiculturalism alone of these three models acknowledges the legitimacy and need for equality of ethnic groups in the expression of their diverse cultures. In doing so it comes closest to a model which has the potential to address the aspirations contained in the various United Nations instruments on cultural, linguistic and religious diversity.

Each of these three models of how States manage and organise their policy responses to ethnic diversity is abstract and contains little in the way of specific policy prescriptions or programs. This abstraction derives from the way they are actually ideological-normative statements with a moral and ethical force. As such, they constitute slogans and supports for political action based on beliefs about the nature of ethnicity and the ways in which society should operate. Such beliefs are a critical dimension of each of the models and contribute to the strong commitment which they arouse in their supporters whether politicians, social commentators or members of the general public.

Intersecting with these models are national mythologies about the origins and characteristics of the State and the national identity. The State may view itself as a 'nation of immigrants' or the guardian of important revolutionary principles or, yet again, the embodiment of a people or 'volk'. Together the models and myths define the abstract notions of whom constitute the nation's citizenry. This is why when States are classified into one or other of the models, reference is frequently made to how they legally define citizenship and assign nationality.

France (24) is the obvious example of a contemporary State which addresses ethnic diversity with an assimilationist model. Special force is given to the French assimilationist model by the way in which it is grounded in the Jacobin ideology of the French Revolution. Nationality, although based on ius sanguinis, has strong elements of ius solis with French born children acquiring citizenship if they had a French born parent or by declaration made between the ages of 16 and 21 (OECD 1995, p.159). Immigrants may also apply for naturalisation after five years and in 1993 over 60,000 were naturalised (OECD 1995, p.225). Citizenship is viewed as a contract between the individual and the State without the mediation of other entities. It is also based on the strict separation of the private from the public space (Birnbaum, 1995). Minority groups in France frequently use the Law of 1901 which approves associations (Giordan, 1992) as a vehicle permitting citizens (regardless of their origin) to organise the development of the minority cultures and languages to which they are attached. Yet the institutional frameworks guaranteeing the real practice of this recognised right are lacking.

The differentialist model of addressing ethnic diversity, leaving aside the extreme forms of ethnic cleansing, is associated especially with States where citizenship is based on principles of ius sanguinis. The effect of this is that native born members of ethnic minorities such as Turks in Germany or Koreans in Japan do not enjoy a natural right to citizenship in their countries of birth. While provisions exist for naturalisation the procedures often make it extremely difficult, even for permanent residents and their locally born children, to apply successfully. The exclusion of such 'outsiders' is further reinforced by national mythologies which emphasise the cultural homogeneity of the nation.

The multi-cultural model is the most recent having been developed only within the last three decades (25). Australia, Canada and Sweden are the three States which have explicitly adopted a national multicultural model to guide them in managing ethnic diversity. Nationality in Canada and Australia is based primarily on ius solis and there is easy access to naturalisation procedures and citizenship for immigrants. While Sweden adheres to principles of ius sanguinis it too, in practice, has procedures which favour relatively easy naturalisation. In 1993, 8.5 per cent of the foreign population acquired Swedish citizenship, a rate which was far higher than in other European OECD countries with the Netherlands at 5.7 per cent having the second highest rate (OECD 1995, p.158).

Complicating the illustration of the various models is the way that, within specific States, the favoured policy models may have changed over time. The official adoption by Canada and Australia of multiculturalism involved the abandonment of earlier official models of biculturalism and assimilation respectively. In France there have been moves away from the assimilationist model to address the needs of ethnic minorities (Castles 1995, p.301). Similarly, Germany has begun moves away from the differentialist model (Castles 1995, p.296).

Within the one society different models may also exist for those from different ethnic minorities. In Australia, for example, a differentialist model for the Aboriginal population coexisted with an assimilationist model for the immigrant population until 1967 when full citizenship rights were granted to Aborigines. In Germany and Japan at the present time, those of German and Japanese origin from their respective diasporic communities in Eastern Europe and South America have citizenship while native born members of ethnic minorities such as the Turks or Koreans are excluded under ius sanguinis citizenship provisions.

Even when based on the criteria for citizenship, attempts to classify States according to particular models may give only a partial indication of their actual policy initiatives and programs. The reason is the need to translate the slogans and models into specific action and programs. It is through this process that the ideological-normative models acquire their programmatic-political reality. This process of translation is critical to appreciate in any discussion of both the reality and the potential for change in policy responses in multi-ethnic societies. To the extent that there is indeterminacy or slippage in the translation from model to practice, the potential for change is thereby increased.

Many factors influence the complex translation process but the outcomes provide the bases for evaluating the claims of the competing ideological-normative policy models. Given the claims and counter-claims made concerning the model of multiculturalism and its potential for enhancing, rather than minimising, ethnic divisions and conflict, it is useful to examine briefly the experience of those States who have adopted it as their ideological-normative policy model and then sought to translate it into specific programs.

Multiculturalism in Practice: Australia, Canada and Sweden

Origins and Developments

Canada was the first of the three States to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism in 1971. This it did after the 1965 Report of the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism recommended the replacement of the bicultural policy, based on the long-established British and French Charter groups, which had operated for over a century. The impetus for the change was concern among other immigrant, non-Charter groups about their place in relation to these two dominant ethnic groups. The initial focus in the policy was on the right to preservation of one's culture and ethnicity as a part of Canadian national identity. Subsequently, the focus of policy shifted to issues of equality, social participation and national unity (Dorais, Foster & Stockley 1994, p.375).

Supporting the policy is a range of legislation. In particular, there is the 1982 Charter of Rights and Freedoms which explicitly forbade discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, colour or religion. However it did not contain a specific guarantee to preserve and develop one's own specific ancestral language or culture, although it noted that the Charter should be interpreted in a manner consistent with Canadians' multicultural heritage (Dorais, Foster & Stockley 1994 p.387). The 1988 Multiculturalism Act complemented the Charter with its two main provisions which were that:

1. All members of Canadian society are free to preserve and share their cultural heritages; their cultures and ancestral languages should be protected and enhanced.

2. All federal institutions should promote policies, programs and practices that ensure that Canadians of all origins have an equal opportunity to obtain employment and advancement in those institutions. Such policies etc. should also enhance the under-standing of and respect for the diversity of the members of Canadian society.

By 1994, the Annual Report on the operation of the Multiculturalism Act identified three main areas of government activity (Canada 1993-94, p.5) These were the need to eliminate racism and discrimination, to overcome problems of integration faced by ethno-cultural and visible minorities and to promote the shared values upon which the nation is based. Accessible governmental institutions and community education were seen as playing a key role in achieving these objectives.

Australia like Canada viewed itself as an immigrant nation. However, lacking a major ethnic group to compete with the British, a model of assimilation to the dominant Angle-Celtic was strongly entrenched as the way of achieving social integration. A major impetus for the adoption of a multicultural model was a growing awareness of the ineffectiveness of the assimilation model. This awareness was spurred by the emergence of an ethnic rights movement including articulate and politically active immigrants from non-English speaking backgrounds together with predominantly Anglo-Celtic workers in a range of welfare areas, education, health and social services who were concerned by the disadvantages faced by many non-English speaking background immigrants with whom they daily came in contact. The 1972 election of a socialist-oriented government committed to overcoming social disadvantage provided opportunities for a shift in policy but it was not until 1978 under a conservative government that multiculturalism became the official policy.

Canada's Population by ethnic Origin
1991 Census

Ethnic Group
Multiple Origin
Single Origin
N. American Indian
South Asian

Source: Statistics Canada (adapted)

In this first phase the policy was seen as serving the needs of newly arrived immigrants of non-English speaking background via the provision of linguistically and culturally appropriate settlement services. It was also accepted that cultural maintenance, especially involving language diversity, should be supported. As in Canada, the policy evolved with a shift in focus from cultural maintenance to address issues of inequity and social disadvantage and, subsequently, community relations and racism (see Castles 1992; Dorais, Foster & Stockley 1994). Contributing to this shift was the perception that cultural maintenance and cultural pluralism were insufficient to overcome structural inequities confronting many of those from non-English speaking background ethnic groups.

Reflecting differences to Canada in its less legalistic, more administratively oriented political culture, the Australian policy on multiculturalism is embodied not in an Act nor as part of a Charter of Rights, but in the 1989 National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia. This was clearly stated as being applicable not just to immigrants but to all Australians, including the indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population. The National Agenda, and its recent restatement (NMAC 1995), identified three dimensions of multiculturalism for all Australians. These were the right to cultural identity, the right to social justice and the need for economic efficiency which involved the effective development and utilisation of the talents and skills of all Australians. Balancing these rights were, however, a series of explicit obligations which included a primary commitment to Australia; an acceptance of the basic structures and principles of Australian society including the Constitution and rule of law, tolerance and equality, parliamentary democracy, freedom of speech and religion, English as the national language and equality of the sexes; and the obligation to accept the rights of others to express their views and values.

One distinctive Australian feature of the policy model outlined in the 1989 National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia was an emphasis on the economic benefits which would be derived from recognising and using fully the professional, linguistic and cultural resources of all Australians. This extension linked individual economic opportunities to government moves to restructure the Australian economy by using the resources of its multicultural population to develop international trade and to develop a more flexible and highly skilled labour force. By emphasising the economic advantages which would accrue from the policy, government was legitimating its claim that multiculturalism was a policy for all Australians and not just those from minority backgrounds (26).

In Sweden, the origins of multiculturalism as a policy, differed yet again. In contrast to Australia and Canada its national identity was not based on a view of itself as a nation of immigrants. Nevertheless, after the Second World War, it received numbers of refugees and, through the free movement established in the Nordic labour market after 1954, substantial numbers of Finnish workers. As elsewhere in Europe the needs of the expanding economy were also met by the use of contract workers (27) from the Mediterranean, especially Yugoslavia. Although extensive labour migration was discontinued after the recession beginning in the early 1970's Sweden continued to receive considerable numbers of refugees and asylum seekers. In 1993, Sweden received almost 59,000 immigrants nearly two-thirds of whom were refugees while one-third entered on the basis of family reunion. Over half were from non-Nordic countries with 40 per cent being from outside Europe (OECD 1995, p.119). In addition to these immigrants are the asylum seekers whose numbers peaked in 1992 at 84,000 prior to the introduction of a series of visa and administrative restrictions (OECD 1995, p.195). Individuals from ex-Yugoslavia have been a major part of this inflow but it has also included substantial numbers from Africa, Asia and other non-European regions which has introduced new sources of cultural diversity into the population. Despite these extensive inflows Sweden's 1993 foreign-born population of 869,000 (9.9 per cent) was still substantially below those of Canada (16.2 per cent) and Australia (23.2 per cent). The Finnish were the largest overseas born group constituting two-thirds of the 300,000 persons born in Nordic countries. Iran, ex-Yugoslavia and Turkey are other major birthplaces of the foreign born (OECD 1995, p.119, 209).

The Finnish minority has been seen as especially important in Sweden's replacement of its earlier policy of assimilation by multiculturalism (Skutnabb-Kangas 1983, p.136). Their free access to Sweden and their ability to bring their families, including children, together with guaranteed educational rights in the Nordic cultural treaty, gave them a secure basis from which to demand greater cultural rights. Once such rights were granted to them, it laid the basis for similar claims from other immigrant groups whose families were in Sweden and who had been able to organise to pursue such rights. A recognition of the short-comings of the strict assimilationist policy also co-existed with Sweden's extensive welfare system which already was involved in extensive government policy initiatives to redress disadvantage which could be extended to the immigrant groups.

The 1975 adoption of the Swedish policy of multiculturalism was based on three key principles 'equality', 'freedom of choice' and 'partnership'. Hammar (1985, p.33) has described the intent of these principles as follows:

The goal of equality implies the continued efforts to give immigrants the same living standards as the rest of the population. The goal of freedom of choice implies that public initiatives are to be taken to assure members of ethnic and linguistic minorities domiciled in Sweden a genuine choice between retaining and developing their cultural identity and assuming a Swedish cultural identity. The goal of partnership implies that the different immigrant and minority groups on the one hand and the native population on the other both benefits from working together.

As in Australia and Canada, the policy has developed over the last two decades. In Sweden, however, the policy is more frequently referred to as 'integration' where this is seen as being in opposition to 'assimilation'. Even though not always referred to as a 'multiculturalism' policy, the Swedish policy does share significant similarities with the Australian and Canadian models. Many of these policy developments result from strategies to address the needs of the extensive refugee population and involved changing degrees of involvement of local communities, as in 1985 when those throughout Sweden were asked to become involved in accommodating and settling the refugee populations (Alund & Schierup, 1991). At the present time the whole policy on integration is under examination as to its ability to cope with the large population inflows at a time of major fiscal constraint and increasing concerns about racism and xenophobia(Castles 1995, p.301). In November 1994 the government replaced an earlier Parliamentary Commission to review immigration and refugee policy with two new commissions. One was to review immigration and refugee policy while the other, due to report in the first half of 1996, was to review integration policy. Among the issues to which special attention is being paid in this review is the role of immigrants in the labour market, and how their knowledge of Swedish language affects their opportunities to work and participate in society. Housing and the range of the groups to be covered by the policy are other issues to be examined by the review (Sweden, Ministry of Labour, 1995 p.40).

Policy Initiatives

The most important point to make about the detailed policies and programs which have been undertaken by these three countries which have officially adopted multiculturalism as their model for managing cultural diversity is that the overall effectiveness of multiculturalism as a policy model depends not on any one program or policy initiative but on their cumulative effect. Within that framework, certain policy directions and initiatives are evident (28).

Language and related educational policies have been a major focus of Australian, Canadian and Swedish policies of multiculturalism. All have sought to develop programs which ensure that children have opportunities to learn to a reasonable level of competence both the national language(s) and their mother tongue. This distinguishes their policies from either the assimilationist focus only on the national language or the isolationist/differentialist focus on only the mother tongue (Skutnabb-Kangas 1983, p.130). All three countries emphasise the need to equip students to be fluent in the national language and to this end have been to the forefront in developing teaching pedagogies and programs to facilitate the learning of that language as a second language by adults as well as children.

An important feature of the government support for minority language initiatives is that they are not important solely as a means for cultural maintenance but, also, as a way of incorporating individuals equitably into the society. This rationale is evident in the operation in Australia of the Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) and the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). The 24 hour a day, 7 days a week Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS) provides a nation-wide telephone service which assists non-English speakers to receive emergency help as well as non-emergency access to an interpreter. SBS provides regular multilingual radio programs. In the two largest centres, Sydney and Melbourne, 63 and 59 different language programs are provided respectively (NMAC 1995, p.65) which provide an important source of information about community and mainstream activities and services. In addition the SBS national television channel (which reaches 75 per cent of the population) broadcasts international news and features in a range of languages as well as providing a series of English language news and other programs addressing issues pertinent to Australian cultural diversity.

Despite their commitment to religious freedom, Australia, Canada and Sweden all have strong Christian traditions. As in other areas of cultural diversity schools, workplaces and welfare services are now becoming aware of the need for greater knowledge and understanding of these differences. Responding to this need have been a range of public and privately provided cross-cultural training programs. In addition there is increasing employment by organisations of professional and managerial staff who are from diverse ethnic backgrounds and thereby bring additional skills into these organisations.

The experience which has accumulated in Australia, Canada and Sweden shows, however, that neither special language services nor educational courses may, in themselves, be sufficient to ensure equality in participation and access to a range of social services. What has become increasingly clear from a range of evaluation studies of social justice initiatives is that there is a need to also change the way in which the organisation (and its staff) relate to the client/patient/student/citizen. What this cultural, and sometimes structural, change requires is a focus not on the way the system operates but on the needs of the individual which it is serving. The importance of such institutional change as a way of achieving greater social justice and equity which is now emphasised in Australia and Canada is more radical than proposals which argue for the setting up of parallel cultural institutions. Such a thoroughgoing reconsideration of the operation of service delivery organisations has implications which extend beyond ethnic minorities to all users.

The nexus between employment and education and training has been one of general concern in all three societies which have experienced historically high levels of unemployment that have particularly affected the immigrant and ethnic minority populations. The need to overcome inequities in employment has been viewed as a key to avoiding the growth of structural disadvantage among ethnic minority groups. While access to language training and increased flexibility in recognising training and experience gained in other countries have been important initiatives, the issues of discrimination in employment and other areas have also needed to be addressed. Australia and Canada have long had anti-discrimination legislation and Sweden passed a similar law in 1994.

Access to affordable and suitable housing is a frequent concern among ethnic minorities and to those from other groups who fear the invasion of their neighbourhood. Australia, Canada and Sweden have been fortunate in largely avoiding the development of dense, sub-standard and over-crowded urban ghettos found in other parts of Europe and North America. Dense, single ethnic group concentrations are rare although class is an important determinant of residential patterns. The potential for housing to become a political issue nevertheless exists as the Vancouver, Canada debate over the 'monster' homes which Asian immigrants were accused of favouring in a middle class suburb clearly shows (Li, 1994).

Racism, both of an institutional and an individual kind, has received increasing attention in policy initiatives. In addition to legislative and administrative action, there has been increasing attention paid to the need for community relations and education strategies which target various groups such as the police force and media. Canada, where the term 'visible minority' officially describes one cluster of ethnic minority groups, has devoted considerable attention to this area. Again, this area of policy development with its focus primarily on the majority community and institutions has been developed after initiatives designed to ensure greater social equity. As such, it involves a recognition of the need for complementary policy initiatives to achieve the objectives espoused in the statements of the respective multicultural policies.


As the comparison of Australia, Canada and Sweden indicates, multiculturalism as a national policy model has so far been developed in only a small number of societies, albeit ones in which it grew out of somewhat different historical circumstances. In all instances though, the initial reason for the adoption of the policy was a perception that previous models of addressing ethnic diversity were not achieving their objectives and/or were not addressing the interests and needs of the ethnic minority groups. While ethnic minority groups were not alone in advocating change, the ability of minority group members to influence political decision making was important (29). Significantly in all three countries the policy has not been restricted to citizens but incorporates also those described by Hammar (1990, p.15) as 'denizens' that is foreign citizens with a legal and permanent resident status.

While the specific policy initiatives and programs developed in each country varied, there was a significant shift from an initial focus on programs directed to addressing concerns about cultural maintenance to those concerned with equality and the removal of disadvantage. This shift in emphasis indicates how those participants in the policy-making process, including members of the ethnic minorities, are as alert to the importance of overcoming economic and social disadvantage as a basis for improving the status of ethnic minorities as they are to seeking to maintain a traditional culture. It clearly suggests that ethnic minority groups may be far more pragmatic about the importance of social equality than is sometimes implied in the culturalist critiques of the multiculturalist model.

Australian and Canadian statements on multiculturalism take considerable effort to emphasise that it is a policy for 'managing' ethnic diversity. Implicit in this is the view that its purpose is not solely to 'maintain' ethnic diversity. As an examination of the statements and policies make plain its aim is to provide a meaningful 'choice' for individuals from diverse ethnic backgrounds so that they are neither excluded in separatist sectors of the society nor forced to assimilate to the mainstream society. Both strategies may marginalise individuals so creating pre-conditions for the emergence of ethnic conflict and violence.

Consistent with the view that the multicultural model is not concerned solely with the maintenance of a specific culture is the emphasis, which is most clearly stated in the Australian National Agenda, summarised above, that the policy involves not only rights but, also, obligations to the whole society.

One striking feature of the implementation of the multicultural model is that the practices associated with the policy have, again in contradiction of the critiques of multiculturalism, resulted in extremely limited evidence of either inter-ethnic violence or conflict. Furthermore this has occurred at a time when all three countries have experienced major economic recessions and constraints on their finances which have affected the State's ability to undertake a variety of social programs. In such circumstances, the potential for identifying scapegoats among minority groups is considerable, specially if they are perceived as having received more than a fair share of society's resources. That racism and discrimination have not been more marked speaks to the effectiveness of the policy model for managing ethnic diversity. From the perspective of members of ethnic minorities, the opportunities which have existed for them to participate fully in society without needing to reject their ethnic identity has clearly been a factor encouraging a high level of commitment to the Australian, Canadian or Swedish society and State. From the perspective of the dominant ethnic group there has clearly been a high level of tolerance and acceptance not only of diversity but, also, of the advantages which all members of the society can gain from it.

While the strong role of the State in all three countries has provided important opportunities for State-initiated interventions, a critical issue is the extent to which these initiatives have been accepted by the majority populations. Incidences of racism and discrimination highlight the limitations in achieving complete acceptance. The need for improved community relations between majority and minority groups and among minority groups are widely recognised. The removal of structural disadvantage associated with ethnic minority status has been an important strategy in all the societies. Complementing it has been the existence of legislation restricting discrimination and racist violence. Community education has also been an important strategy for overcoming potential hostilities.

Both Canada and Australia have made extensive use of the powers of Federal governments to influence Federal government departments and agencies as well as state or provincial and municipal authorities to adopt multiculturalism as a policy. While the extent to which state or provincial authorities have adopted multicultural policies in the areas of their own jurisdiction has varied, there is far greater uniformity in Australia than in Canada where Quebec has seen multiculturalism as a policy which may interfere with the special status of Quebec and the francophone culture.

A major feature of the multicultural policy model is that the State and government institutions have played a leading role in policy formulation and implementation. However, if the policy is to become pervasive it also requires the involvement of private organisations and institutions. With the increasing reductions in government budgets and a clear pattern of government withdrawal from service provision this involvement becomes especially critical. In contrast to their use of funding allocations and reporting requirements to influence other public sector organisations the ability of Federal authorities to enforce co-operation from the private sector is much more limited. The attempt to encourage adoption of multiculturalism in the operation of private organisations has relied extensively on advocating the economic advantages which may be derived from it in terms of expanding their markets or being able to better utilise the skills of their employees. This willingness to appeal to economic motivation highlights the pragmatism which underlines the implementation of the policy and the way in which it is argued of being of benefit to all in the society, not just those from ethnic minority backgrounds.

The ultimate test of the policies of multiculturalism is their acceptance by the general public. In all three societies the policies have been subject to criticism from academics and others. Common criticisms concern perceived threats to existing social traditions and the national culture as well as the costs associated with what are perceived to be 'special' programs. Attempts to refute such claims by reference to the way in which special expenditure may be cost effective in the long term are only partially effective in responding to the critics. However, evidence from public opinion polls in both Canada and Australia suggests that in general there is considerable support for multiculturalism (see Box 4). Perhaps more significantly for the future of the policy is the extent to which in elections there is public support for political parties supportive of programs associated with the policy. While anti-immigration candidates have achieved some success in recent elections in Australia, the far more significant outcome of recent election experiences is that both major political parties now appreciate that multicultural programs have considerable appeal to voters.

The adoption of multicultural policy models was initially inspired by a desire to address the issue of how to integrate immigrant ethnic minorities. Even where, as in Australia, the concern to extend the policy to apply to all Australians explicitly included the indigenous population, the relationship of multiculturalism to both indigenous groups or a long-established group such as the Francophone Quebecois remains highly problematic. Such groups see dangers in a policy which they fear may reduce their own status to that of simply being one of many ethnic minorities. They also fear that their specific needs, often associated with land and identity with a particular territory, may be overlooked.

In all three countries, indigenous groups have a unique legal-administrative status with associated entitlements. Australia has gone furthest in seeking to include Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander groups within the policy of multiculturalism but this has only been done while retaining an extensive set of distinct policies and programs for the indigenous population. While Australian indigenous groups do not appear to share the extensive hostility to 'multiculturalism' which is evident among New Zealand Maoris, the issue of their relation to non-Aboriginal society is a sensitive one and the existing policy of multiculturalism clearly would not be seen by them as an adequate way of addressing their situation and needs.

The near success of the 1995 Quebec referendum which would have authorised the provincial government to negotiate secession from Canada is evidence of the strength of separatist feeling which exists in that Province. However, the roots of this separatism lie more in long held concerns about the relationship between French and British Charter groups than they do with the policy of multiculturalism as such. Indeed, under Canada's Federal system Quebec has been able to develop its own policy on 'interculturalism' in such a way as not to limit the special position of Quebec Francophone culture (Leman 1995).

As a dynamic policy model the future development of multi- culturalism in these three States is clearly an important issue. As indicated above there are indications that Sweden is in fact reconsidering its commitment to the policy model which developed within the context of that country's highly developed state welfare system unlike Australia and Canada where the policy has had a higher, more independent profile. The financial costs of any interventionist policy are clearly a matter of considerable debate at a time of economic recession and Canada's current review of the policy must be seen against this background. Even entrenched and strongly institutionalised policies may find it difficult to withstand attack. Despite concerns for the future of multiculturalism as a policy model in Australia and Canada a recent assessment suggested that their continuation was likely (Dorais, Foster & Stockley 1994, p.394).

Both nations are currently re examining their national identity and their national integrity and multicultural policies will inevitably be affected by these reviews. In Canada, the prime question is how Quebec's regional ethno-nationalist aspirations may be accommodated. For Australia, the task is less immediately challenging and revolves around government-led initiatives to further reduce its links with Britain through becoming a republic. Clearly, the extensive multicultural character of Australian society makes this a project which enjoys much public support although there are many questions remaining about how this diversity will be encompassed and symbolised in the new identity. The replacement in March 1996 of the thirteen year old Federal Labour Government by a conservative Liberal-National Party coalition Government has already seen the issue of the move to a republic placed lower on the list of government policy priorities. Less obvious is the new Government's attitude to a range of programs associated with multiculturalism, although it is already evident that in the Government's move to cut its expenditure by US$ 6.3 billion in 3 years, no areas of policy will be protected from large-scale cuts.

The Broader Applicability of Multiculturalism as a Policy Response

As the end of the twentieth century approaches, there is an urgent need to find durable policy models for managing multi-ethnic societies so as to obviate ethnic conflict and violence in a manner acceptable within a democratic society. The political instability, economic changes and ever-increasing levels of international migration which have contributed to the increasing range and extent of inter-ethnic contacts show little sign of abating. Even were they to do so, the new ethnic diversity which they have introduced into States will not disappear overnight.

The sense of concern is evident in a recent OECD publication (OECD 1995, p.46) which posed the question: "Integration problems: a failure of integration models or a reflection of economic crisis?" In fact, the choice is false. Clearly high levels of unemployment and strains in the welfare system are contributing to ethnic conflict in many European and other industrial societies. But as we have just seen they are not the only factors increasing diversity and introducing tensions.

There is also a sense that existing policy models are failing. The assimilationist model is being questioned as it becomes increasingly evident that assimilation is not occurring as intended and that, indeed, there is a growing sense of alienation among many of those from ethnic minority backgrounds. At the extreme, this is associated with a retreat into a fundamentalist reassertion of a culturally-based distinctiveness. A further concern with the assimilation model is that the growing levels of international mobility question one of the key premises of the model. This is that after arrival in a new society the individual will locate there permanently. Increasingly we know that this does not happen in the short-term, or even the longer-term. From an individual perspective assimilation hence increasingly represents an un- realistic model even in those 'immigrant' societies which have used immigration as a means of nation-building. Where States have resorted to differentialist models as a way of managing ethnic diversity the difficulties of ensuring a 'separate but equal' outcome for ethnic minorities are all too evident. Failure to approach this objective generates increasingly pressing demands for social justice often associated with a strengthening of minority group solidarity.

Does Multiculturalism Provide a Viable Alternative?

The experiences of those limited number of States which have explicitly espoused multiculturalism as a policy response to ethnic diversity have indicated that while the policy is certainly contested it has, nevertheless, shown considerable durability. Contrary to many of its critics, where it has been adopted as official State policy it is not necessarily associated with a widening and deepening of the divide between ethnic groups. However where, as in the United States, there is no such policy at a national level and multiculturalism is advocated by ethnic minority groups and their supporters as an oppositional policy, then it should not be surprising that many of the policies they propose reflect the existence of a deep divide between ethnic groups. That this is so should not be blamed on multiculturalism. Rather, it reflects how the existence of assimilation as the dominant ideological-normative model, even when supplemented by programmatic-political models which have sought to redress social disadvantage and inequality, has only been partially successful. In a society such as the United States where the scope for extensive State intervention is limited by a strong tradition of individualism and a focus on societal regulatory mechanisms, including those of the market, mechanisms for alleviating deeply entrenched social disadvantage and injustice are limited.

The application of any policy model will obviously be affected by the characteristics of the society in which it operates as is evident in the comparison of Australia, Canada and Sweden. While it is true that Sweden may be retreating from multiculturalism as an explicit policy of integration, its adoption by Sweden indicates that its utility was not confined only to States which have been built on extensive settler immigration. The attraction of multiculturalism for all three States was its perceived ability to address policy issues associated with immigrant minority groups in a way that was consistent with their democratic ideals.

Given the significance of immigrant minority groups in many multi-ethnic societies, multiculturalism has considerable potential as an alternative policy model. By comparison with the assimilationist and differentialist models it does, however, require and benefit from a much more interventionist role by the State, especially in the early phases when the struggle for legitimacy and resources are greatest. Such a tradition of State involvement and active engagement in policy making and implementation is, however, compatible with the political traditions in many European nations as well as in many States in Asia and other regions of the world.

The adoption of multiculturalism as the replacement for an existing national model of integration involves difficulties. The financial constraints on State expenditure and the high levels of unemployment which have already exacerbated existing inter-ethnic relations cannot be ignored. There is also the need to identify the specific strategies to be followed in implementing the policy. As the case studies showed, a feature of the multicultural model is that, as a model which involves ultimately institutional and personal change, the strategies appropriate and feasible vary from one stage of implementation to the next. Hence, evaluation of the policy should ideally take a long term perspective. Such a luxury may not be possible in the present situation where policy makers seek urgent solutions.

Yet, the difficulties are not perhaps insuperable nor the task so daunting as may at first appear. Many European countries in their current attempts to facilitate integration have already in place many programs and strategies which are compatible with a multicultural policy model. Acceptance of dual citizenship and moves towards ius solis are two examples where apparently strong legal barriers to less discriminatory treatment of ethnic minorities are weakening. The fact that the Council of Europe has a Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level is a further indication that many relevant issues have already received considerable attention. The various forums and agencies associated with the European Union and the Council of Europe have been extremely active in not only identifying issues but examining and evaluating a variety of programs and solutions (e.g. Baubock 1995; Council of Europe 1994; European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions 1994). There is thus already in place in Europe an important set of knowledge concerning possible strategies and programs. The challenge in adopting a multicultural policy model thus lies in the way these programs are utilised.

The point was made in the context of the case studies that multiculturalism does not consist of one specific type of program or strategy. Instead, its effectiveness depends on the cumulative effect of various strategies which together ensure that cultural diversity is encouraged at the same time that its connection with disadvantage is severed and becomes seen by the entire population as a positive contribution to society, rather than merely something to be tolerated. This is not to imply that toleration in some circumstances represents an advance on existing community attitudes. Rather it is to emphasise that the important contribution of a multicultural model lies not merely in the way it involves specific programs and practices. Instead, its significance is that it enjoins a re-conceptualisation of how to manage integration by replacing the often paternalistic provision of services to minorities by a more participatory and consultative process. Such a shift represents a major advance in the democratic process in multi-ethnic societies.

Despite the way in which many of the existing ideological-normative models are already being bypassed in the search for programmatic-political policies to address integration, some States may feel that overt support for a multicultural model would be politically unacceptable. Experience has shown that this, while it deprives many local programs of legitimacy and resources, need not preclude the development at a lower policy level of programs with objectives compatible with a multicultural model. While such programs face difficulties in becoming institutionalised, their existence is valuable as a model for others involved in policy development and implementation.

In societies where sub-national regions have a considerable role in policy-making and implementation, multicultural initiatives at this level are of particular significance. Especially where minorities are concentrated in certain regions, local initiatives are extremely valuable as examples of what can be achieved through an explicitly multicultural policy. The case of Frankfurt, which in 1989 established an Office for Multicultural Affairs to mediate between migrants and the municipal bureaucracy and to reduce conflict at the source before it has a chance to escalate, shows that the potential for change exists even in societies seen to be far from supportive of policies of multiculturalism (Friedmann, 1995; Friedmann & Lehrer, forthcoming). Although susceptible to changes in political control and the departure of key figures such cases provide further support for questioning the validity of the negative predictions by the critics of multiculturalism.

Given the strong hostilities which have been aroused to multiculturalism by the often rabid reactions to those seeking greater acknowledgement of the rights of cultural and ethnic minorities, policy makers may feel that another less contentious term would be desirable. The lack of specificity of a term such as 'integration', which is no doubt the reason for its popularity, is clearly inadequate for the task. Whatever word is chosen as an alternative to multiculturalism it is critical that it should clearly indicate that diversity is not merely tolerated but welcomed as a benefit for the whole society. It is precisely this acknowledgement that gives the term multiculturalism its power and efficacy to bring together majority and minority ethnic groups.

How Widely Applicable is Multiculturalism as a Policy Model?

So far this discussion has considered the relevance of multiculturalism as a policy model involving immigrant ethnic minority groups and predominantly in Europe. The growing importance of immigration elsewhere in the world raises the possibility of the model being applied in other regions. Certainly in many countries the existence of a strong State may be compatible with the introduction of multiculturalism but the term itself has so far gained little currency outside the Western industrialised countries. Many States have policies to manage ethnic diversity which resemble the differentialist or, less frequently, the assimilationist model. To the extent that problems of managing ethnic diversity have not yet engendered the soul-searching now evident in the industrial countries there may be as yet little willingness to consider the potential utility of a multi-culturalist model. This should not be seen though as necessarily indicating the inappropriateness of the model. Nevertheless, the adoption of multiculturalism as a model would involve considerable institutional change, not least where States have only partially adopted a commitment to democratic processes.

The policy situation where doubt does exist concerning the utility of the multiculturalist model is where the ethnic minority group involved is what Kymlicka has termed a 'national minority' that is a previously self-governing, territorially concentrated culture. Clear examples are many indigenous populations, or those groups previously associated in federations such as ex-Yugoslavia or the former USSR. In contrast to 'ethnic groups' he argues that these national minorities typically wish to maintain themselves as distinct societies alongside the majority culture, and demand various forms of autonomy or self-government to ensure their survival as distinct entities (1995 p.10). As we know from the case studies, the situation of such groups has largely been attended to outside the policy framework of multiculturalism. Whether this is inevitable, or always appropriate, may need to be left as an open question not least because many individuals with links to these national minorities live outside the home territories among the rest of society and other ethnic minorities. For these individuals multiculturalism may constitutes an attractive policy model.

Ultimately, however, it is necessary to acknowledge that there are limits as to what a multiculturalist model can be expected to achieve. In situations characterised by extended and violent conflict any attempt at reconciliation will inevitably be problematic. Similarly where there is a long history of inter ethnic hostility and a failure of alternative policy models to result in integration, the task facing a multiculturalist model in seeking to 'turn around' the existing situation is immense. While the absence of an alternative may recommend a multicultural policy, the expectations attached to its adoption should be realistic and acknowledge the difficulty of the task involved and the issues to be worked through. That said, a commitment to diversity carries a powerful positive message to minority groups which can counter their perceived need to argue in terms of broad ambit claims or to retreat into a fundamentalist isolation and resistance to integration.


The transformation of multi-ethnic, demographically multicultural societies has created a major challenge for policy makers seeking to manage ethnic diversity without exacerbating violence and conflict and in a manner beneficial to all. This paper has examined the potential of multiculturalism as a policy model. In so doing it has sought to complement existing philosophical discussions (e.g. Kymlicka 1995; Taylor 1994) by shifting the focus to actual policy decision-making and implementation. Contrary to commonly expressed fears, it has been argued that an examination of States which have adopted the model fails to justify concerns that its long term effects are to heighten ethnic divisions and tensions. This is because when combined, as it is in the case studies, with a strong emphasis on policies of social justice, it removes much of the bases for resistance among ethnic minority groups. The focus on social justice also counters criticisms that multiculturalism simply serves to continue the exploited, powerlessness of these minority groups.

It may be argued that this is because such societies are not, in fact, really applying multicultural policies. Such a criticism overlooks the actual stated commitment to do so. It also overlooks the reality of the policy-making process which requires considerable translation in the move from abstract policy models to decision-making and then implementation. In this process of translation, the uniqueness of each State's historical context cannot be overlooked. The institutions, the nature of diversity, the role of governments in formulation of policies as well as the scope for inputs by relevant stake-holders all play a part in the decision making process as well as in the implementation of specific programs and strategies. Additional indeterminacy is related to the need for such policies to be implemented by individuals whose own actions can affect the policy outcomes.

A final feature of the multicultural model is its ability to address issues democratically. In so doing it counters the often pessimistic assertion that the democratic majority is inherently opposed to the rights of minority groups. The task for those using multiculturalism as a policy model to achieve such consensus on the value of diversity is considerable. It need not be unobtainable. It does require a struggle against social inequalities and exclusion within a democratic polity.


Alund, A. & C-S Schierup, 1991 Paradoxes of Multiculturalism, Aldershot: Avebury

Alund, A & C-S Schierup, 1993 "The Thorny Road to Europe: Swedish Immigrant Policy in Transition" in J. Wrench & J. Solomos eds. Racism and Migration in Western Europe, Oxford: Berg 99-114

Appleyard, R. 1991 International Migration: Challenge for the Nineties, Geneva: International Organization for Migration

Banton, M. 1967 Race Relations London: Tavistock

Baubock, R. 1995 The Integration of Immigrants, Strasbourg: Council of Europe

Blalock, H. 1967 Toward a Theory of Minority-Group Relations New York: Wiley & Sons

Castles, S. 1992 "Australian Multiculturalism: Social Policy and Identity in a Changing Society" pp.184-201 in G. Freeman & J. Jupp eds. Nations of Immigrants: Australia, The United States and International Migration, Melbourne: Oxford University Press

Castles, S. 1995 'How nation-states respond to immigration and ethnic diversity' New Community v. 21 N°3 293-308

Castles, S. & M. Miller. 1993 The Age of Migration: International Population Movements in the Modern World London: Macmillan

Coleman, D. 1994 "Migration: Facts and Figures", in European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, European Conference on Migration and the Social Partners-Proceedings Dublin, 9-10 December 1993, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications 3-6

Connor, W. 1994 Ethnonationalism: The Quest for Understanding, Princeton: Princeton University Press

Council of Europe. 1994 Activities of the Council of Europe in the Migration Field Strasbourg: Council of Europe

Dorais, J-L, L. Foster & D. Stockley 1994 'Multiculturalism and Integration' in H. Adelman et al. eds. Immigration and Refugee Policy: Australia and Canada Compared, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press 372-404

European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions. 1994 European Conference on Migration and the Social Partners-Proceedings Dublin, 9-10 December 1993, Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications

Friedmann, J. 1995 "Migrants, Civil Society and the New Europe: The Challenge for Planners", European Planning Studies vol.3 N°3 275-285

Friedmann, J & U. Lehrer. forthcoming "Urban Policy Responses to Foreign-In-Migration: The Case of Frankfurt-am-Main" Journal of the American Planning Association Winter 1997

Furnivall, J.S. 1939 Netherlands India: A Study of Plural Economy, Cambridge: The University Press

Furnivall, J.S. 1948 Colonial Policy and Practice: A Comparative Study of Burma and Netherlands, India London: Cambridge University Press

Gamson, W.A. 1995 "Hiroshima, the Holocaust, and the Politics of Exclusion", 1994 A.S.A. Presidential Address, American Sociological Review, vol.60, N°1, pp.1-20.

Giordan, H. 1995 Pluricultural and Pluri-ethnic Societies, Paris: MOST Discussion Paper Series, N°1, UNESCO.

Giordan, H. 1992, ed. Les Minorités en Europe, Paris: Kimé

Goot, M. 1993 "Multiculturalism, Monoculturalists and the many in between: Attitudes to Cultural Diversity and their Correlates", Australian and New Zealand Journal of Sociology, vol.29, N°2 226-253

Hammar, T. 1985 European Immigration Policy, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press

Hammar, T. 1990 Democracy and the Nation State: Aliens, Denizens and Citizens in a World of International Migration, Aldershot: Avebury

Holton, R & M. Lanphier, 1994 "Public Opinion, Immigration and Refugees", in H. Adelman et al. eds. Immigration and Refugee Policy: Australia and Canada Compared, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press pp.125-148

Huntington, S. 1993 "The Clash of Civilizations?" Foreign Affairs, v.72, N° 3, pp.22-49.

Irving Saulwick & Associates. 1994 Opinions About Multiculturalism, Australia, Office of Multicultural Affairs

Kritz, M, L. Lim & H. Zlotnik. 1992 International Migration Systems: A Global Approach, Oxford: Clarendon Press

Iturralde, D.A. 1995 La Gestion de la Multiculturalidad y la Multietnicidàd en Americà Latina, Paris: MOST Discussion Paper Series, N°5, UNESCO

Kymlicka, W. 1995 Multicultural Citizenship Oxford: Clarendon Press

Leman, M. 1995 Canadian Multiculturalism Ottawa: Library of Parliament, Research Branch

Li, P. 1994 "Unneighbourly Houses or Unwelcome Chinese: the Social Construction of Race in the Battle over 'Monster Homes' in Vancouver, Canada" International Journal of Comparative Race and Ethnic Studies vol.1, no.1 pp.14-33.

Magubane, B.M. 1995 Reflections on the Challenges Confronting Post-Apartheid South Africa, Paris: MOST Discussion Paper Series,-No.7, UNESCO

Maistre, J. de. 1980 Considérations sur la France, Paris: Garnier, p.64

Marshall, T. 1964 Class, Citizenship and Social Development, Westport: Greenwood

McLellan, J. & A. Richmond. 1994 "Multiculturalism in Crisis: A Post-Modern Perspective", Ethnic and Racial Studies, vol. 17. N°4 662-683

McLuhan, M. 1964 Understanding Media, London: Routledge

Montesquieu, C.S. de. 1949 Mes Pensées, Paris, Gallimard, p10

MOST, 1995 Multiculturalism: A Policy Response to Diversity (mimeographed paper), Paris: UNESCO

National Multicultural Advisory Council. 1995 Multicultural Australia: The Next Steps Towards and Beyond 2000, A Report of the National Multicultural Advisory Council, Canberra: AGPS

OECD. 1995 SOPEMI: Trends in International Migration. Annual Report 1994, Paris

Richmond, A. 1994 Global Apartheid: Refugees, Racism and the New World Order, Toronto: Oxford University Press

Rogers, R. 1992 "The Future of Refugee Flows and Policies" International Migration Review, vol. 26 N°4 1112-1143

Sassen, S. 1991 The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press

Sassen, S. 1994 Cities in a World Economy, Thousand Oaks: Pine Force Press

Schermerhorn R. 1970 Comparative Ethnic Relations: A Framework for Theory and Research, New York: Random House

Schlesinger, A. 1992 The Disuniting of America, Reflections on a Multicultural Society, New York: Norton

Smith, A. 1994 "The Problem of National Identity: Ancient, Medieval and Modern?", Ethnic and Racial Studies vol.17 N°3 375-399

Skutnabb-Kangas, T. 1983 "Research and its implications for the Swedish setting-An immigrant's point of view" in T. Husen & S. Opper eds. Multicultural and Multilingual Education in Immigrant Countries Oxford: Pergamon Press 127-140

Stahl, C., R. Ball, C. Inglis, & P. Gutman. 1993 Global Population Movements and Their Implications for Australia Canberra: AGPS

Stalker, P. 1994 The Work of Strangers: A Survey of International Labour Migration, Geneva: ILO

Sweden Ministry of Labour 1995 Immigrant and Refugee Policy, Stockholm: Ministry of Labour

Taylor, C. et.al. 1994 Multiculturalism: Examining the Politics of Recognition, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press

Touraine, A. 1992 Critique de la Modernité, Paris: Fayard (transl. 1995 Critique of Modernity, Oxford: Blackwells)

UNHCR. 1995 Populations of Concern to UNHCR: A Statistical Overview 1994, Geneva: UNHCR

United Nations. 1984 Un Guide de l'Enseignant: Les Nations Unies et la Décolonisation New York: United Nations

US Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development. 1990 Unauthorised Migration: An Economic Development Response: Report, Washington: The Commission

Van den Berghe, P. 1967 Race and Racism, New York: Wiley

Väyrinen, R. 1994 Towards a Theory of Ethnic Conflicts and their Resolution, Occasional Paper N°6, Kroc Institute, Notre Dame, Notre Dame University

Waters, M. 1994 "Globalisation, Multiculturalism and Rethinking the Social: Introduction", Australian and New Zealand journal of Sociology vol.30 N°3 229-234

Wieviorka, M. 1992 La France Raciste Paris: Seuil

Wieviorka, M. 1993 "Tendencies to Racism in Europe: Does France Represent a Unique Case, or is it Representative of a Trend?", in J. Wrench & J. Solomos, eds. Racism and Migration in Western Europe, Oxford: Berg 55-66

Wieviorka, M. 1994 "Introduction" in Bataille, P. et.al. Racisme et Xénophobie en Europe, Paris: La Découverte


1. (I am necessarily a man... and I am French only by chance.) The antinomic stance is the one formulated by the 19th century conservative thinker Joseph de Maistre (1980): "Il n'y a point d'hommes dans le monde. J'ai vu dans ma vie des Français, des Italiens, des Russes, etc...; mais quant à l'homme je déclare ne l'avoir rencontré de ma vie..." (There aren't men in the world. I've seen in my life French, Italians, Russians, etc...; as regards the man, however, I declare not having met him throughout my lifetime...)

2. These projects are:
- New migrations and growing ethno-cultural diversity in the Asia-Pacific region;
- Research and monitoring of ethnicity and conflict in post-Soviet States;
- Multicultural and multi-ethnic societies: terminological and conceptual clarification;
- Comparative studies, monitoring and evaluation of ethnic conflict and socio-cultural change in Africa;
- Multicultural policies and modes of citizenship in European cities.

3. The following contributions were prepared:
- Michael Banton, "Multi-cultural and Multi-ethnic Societies" (unpublished);
- Christine Inglis, "Multi-culturalism: its Significance, Operation and Future with Special Significance to the Asia-Pacific Region" (unpublished);
- Atieno Odhiambo, "African Perspectives on Cultural Diversity and Multiculturalism" (unpublished);
- William Safran, "Cultural Pluralism and Multiculturalism: Problems, Prospects and Solutions (unpublished);
- Garcia Canclini, "The Future of Multi-cultural Societies" (unpublished);
- Stephen Castles provided many thoughtful comments and suggestions.

4. Ethnic groups are treated in this paper as socially constructed categories which refer to social groupings with a shared sense of peoplehood based on national identity, language, religion, physical characteristics or a combination of these attributes. The inclusion of racial groups as a subset of ethnic groups reflects the way attributions of differences in physical appearance, and its social significance, tends to be highly problematic across societies. Furthermore, the terminology of 'racism' is no longer restricted in common usage to groups which are necessarily distinguishable on the basis of physical characteristics.

5. 'Multi-ethnic' societies refers to those societies which contain multiple ethnic groups. 'Multi-cultural' also refers to the same type of societies. While it is sometimes used in an extended sense to refer to the cultural differences associated with a variety of alternative life-styles not linked to ethnicity but to gender or sexual preferences this is not a primary usage nor is it followed in this paper (cf also Kymlicka 1995, p.18)

6. In Multicultural Citizenship, Kymlicka (1995) undertakes the task of developing a liberal theory of minority rights as a basis for addressing the needs of ethnic and national minorities.

7. The MOST program is supporting a project on 'Multicultural and multi-ethnic societies: terminological and conceptual clarification' which will examine the complexities in greater depth.

8. The original statement of the thesis was contained in Foreign Affairs, vol 72 n°3 1993. The next issue, Foreign Affairs, vol 72 no.4 1993 contains the first of many critical discussions.

9. An eloquent outline of the changing theoretical accounts is contained in Alain Touraine, 1992 (translated 1995)

10. The link between multiculturalism and oppositional policies and politics is explicit in Charles Taylor, et al. (1994).

11. He pointed to the potential of what he termed "plural societies" to breakup in the face of bitter ethnic rivalries once the stabilising influence of the colonial power was removed (Furnivall 1939; 1948).

12. Sassen's work on the emergence of global cities is an example of a critique which points to a declining significance for the State associated with these global cities taking a leading role in the development of international finance. (1991; 1994)

13. Detailed discussion of the changes in international population movements are beyond the scope of this paper where the primary focus is on their implications for ethnic relations. However, recent accounts of these movements can be found in Appleyard (1991) Castles & Miller (1993), Kritz, Lim & Zlotnik (1992), Stahl et al (1993) and Stalker (1994).

14. The 1951 United Nations Convention and its 1967 Protocol define as a refugee 'any person who...owing to well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable or...unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country'

15. This international system is, however, under considerable strain because of the increasing numbers of refugees and, especially, concerns about the adequacy of the restricted Convention definition of refugee which is applied to those seeking asylum. In October 1995 the un High Commissioner for Refugees, Ms Sadako Ogata, told a conference that the un asylum apparatus was threatened with collapse. Besides the expanding scope of the UNHCR's activities she also identified as a major difficulty the decreasing willingness of host nations to accommodate refugees seeking asylum.

16. For many observers they thus are viewed as little different to the illegal immigrants who exist without legal permission in many countries, and in often large numbers. Their illegal and undocumented status ensures that estimates of their numbers are often unsatisfactory.

17. The Dublin Convention which set up procedures for handling asylum applications and the Schengen Treaty which commenced operation in 1995 are examples of such initiatives.

18. A more positive strategy is that designed to assist in the economic development of major source regions in Eastern Europe, Africa, Latin America and Asia thereby limiting the economic factors which may encourage individuals to emigrate. However, as the Report of the US Presidential Commission for the Study of International Migration and Cooperative Economic Development concluded in 1990 this is a very long term strategy and its immediate effects may actually be to encourage flows of emigrants (United States, 1990 p.xiv).

19. A similar pattern of permanent immigration but one for which detailed statistics are not available involves nationals of member States of the European Union who can now move freely within the European Union.

20. Much Mexican immigration to the USA has been illegal but with the 1986 Immigration and Reform Control Act provisions were created which allowed many long resident Mexicans to gain legal residency. This has accounted for the very large numbers of Mexicans appearing in recent US immigration statistics which include these legalisations.

21. The ability of ethnic minorities to participate in this process varies considerably depending on the extent to which they enjoy full citizenship rights. However, even where groups may not participate directly in the process, their views may be represented by intermediaries and support groups.

22. The importance of complementing legal citizenship by a broader concept of social citizenship was identified by Marshall (1964) in his discussion of the evolution of citizenship from a concept emphasising duties to a focus on right where he argued that social citizenship played a crucial role in the attainment of equality.

23. Such a set of ideal types can always be expanded into a more complex taxonomy. Indeed, as discussed below, fitting a specific society into one of these models may present challenges, especially where the state policy is ambiguous or where the state plays a limited role in determining domestic policy.

24. This section draws on material from Multiculturalism: A Policy Response to Diversity, MOST, UNESCO 1995 pp.1-2.

25. Much longer established are other pluralist models which however are based on different assumptions to the multicultural model. The 'plural society' model described by Furnivall is typical of colonial societies where cohesion and lack of ethnic conflict was dependent on the operation of the market place buttressed ultimately by the force which could be brought to bear by the colonial administration. It is thus closer in form to the differentialist model than the multiculturalist model where there is a consensual commitment to the national benefits of pluralism rather than an enforcement of it by the State.

26. Through this focus the Australian policy showed that ethnic minority members of the society, instead of merely having the potential to produce socially disruptive conflict, had the capacity to contribute to the society's ability to gain (economic) advantage from encounters with business people, tourists, students and others who were encountered in the pursuit of economic interests. In doing this it brought together both the negative and the positive dimensions of the renewed focus on ethnicity which were identified at the beginning of this paper.

27. More details are contained in Alund and Schierup 1991, 1993.

28. More information on programs can be found in the Annual Reports of government agencies and evaluation studies of particular programs and areas. Box 3 summarises some recent Australian initiatives as an example of the diversity of the programs involved in a policy of multiculturalism.

29. Sweden in 1976 extended voting rights in local elections to foreign nationals and all three countries have adopted extensive programs of consultation with representatives of ethnic groupings.

Box 1

Major Instruments of the United Nations System on Non-Discrimination, Rights of Minorities and the Rights of Indigenous People

Universal Declaration on Human Rights
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Vienna Declaration and Program of Action
United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide
International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid
International Convention against Apartheid in Sports
Discrimination (Employment and Occupation:) Convention
Convention against Discrimination in Education
Protocol Instituting a Conciliation and Good Offices Commission to be responsible for seeking a settlement of any disputes which may arise between States Parties to the Convention against Discrimination in Education
Equal Remuneration Convention
Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief
Declaration on Race and Racial Prejudice
Declaration on Fundamental Principles concerning the Contribution to the Mass Media to Strengthening Peace and International Understanding, to the Promotion of Human Rights and to countering Racialism, Apartheid and Incitement to War
Declaration on the Principles of International Cultural Co-operation
Declaration on the Rights of Persons Belonging to
National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities
Framework Convention for the Protection of national Minorities
Convention (N°169) concerning Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Independent Countries
Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People
Declaration on the Human Rights of Individuals Who are not Nationals of the Country in which they Live
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families
Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
Declaration on the Rights of Mentally Retarded Persons
Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care
Convention on the Rights of the Child

Source: UNESCO, Human Rights: Major International Instruments, Status as at 31 May 1996 (prepared by J. Symonides, V. Volodine and S.Rivet)

Box 2

Selected Policy Issues

Ethnic Minority Languages

    - Freedom to use the language
    - The teaching of the ethnic language and its use as a medium of instruction in schools
    - The existence of radio, television and print media in the ethnic language.
    - The use of the ethnic minority language in other institutional areas including health, welfare services, and the legal system
    - The availability of interpreters and the provision of information in translation in the ethnic minority language
National Language
    - Access to instruction in the national language for children and adults
    - Freedom of worship and ability to observe religious rituals and practices
    - Institutional structures which are compatible with a religion's tenets e.g. in the legal system, education
Legal Status
    - Situation of non-citizen residents
    - Access to nationality of the country of permanent residence
    - Availability of dual nationality
    - Existence of a special status for ethnic minority group
    - Freedom of association among ethnic group members and the right to form their own social organisations
    - Freedom of cultural expression
    - Equality in educational attainment
    - Curriculum which incorporates the perspectives and experiences of ethnic minority students
    - Access to employment without discrimination
    - Recognition of existing qualifications and experience
    - Access to training opportunities
Health & Welfare Services
    - Access to information on the operation of the health and welfare system
    - The delivery of these services in a way which takes account of the ethnic minority's cultural patterns
    - Access to appropriate housing without discrimination
    - An absence of racism
    - An absence of discriminatory practices
National Identity
    - The place of the ethnic minority in the national identity
Political Representation & Autonomy
    - Involvement of ethnic minority group in policy making
    - The opportunity for the minority to take responsibility for making decisions relevant to its concerns

Box 3

Australian Multicultural Policy Initiatives

An indication of the breadth of focus of the Australian policy of multiculturalism is contained in the 1995 Review of the progress achieved in implementing the 1989 National Agenda for a Multicultural Australia (National Multicultural Advisory Council, 1995 vol.2). Listed below are the key areas examined in the Review of Federal government initiatives with select examples of specific programs and initiatives.


    - Participation in Policy Making Institutions
    - Participation in the Judiciary, Police Force and Defence Force
    - Participation in Senior Management and Unions
    - Participation in the Arts, Media and Sport
    - Citizenship

Affirmative action measures were not proposed as a means of increasing participation. Among initiatives to increase representation on advisory bodies was the establishment of a Register containing the names and qualifications of people from indigenous and non-English speaking backgrounds interested in appointment to such bodies.

Basic Rights

    - Multiculturalism and the Law
    - Administrative Review Procedures
    - Use of Interpreters
    - Access to Justice
    - Racial Discrimination

A review was undertaken by the Australian Law Reform Commission on the appropriateness of Australian contract, criminal and family law for a society made up of people from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. Recommendations for change included amendments to existing legislation, enhanced community education, improved access and use of interpreters throughout the legal system and improved cross-cultural sensitivity training for people working in the legal system.

Social Justice

    - Access and Equity
    - Community Services and Health
    - Local Government Development Program
    - Migrant Access Projects Scheme
    - Consumer Education
    - Women

The Commonwealth Government's Strategy to improve access to and equity in the delivery of government services included extending the scope of the Strategy from only immigrants to include all those who may face barriers of race, culture, or language including indigenes and second generation Australians of non-English speaking background. Priority was given to health and community services and involved the development of awareness campaigns and the monitoring of participation by target groups as a basis for identifying where there was a need to improve the delivery of services to under-represented groups.

Human Resources

    - Recognition of Overseas Qualifications
    - Employment Services
    - Productive Diversity
    - Training Reform
    - Industrial Relations

The provision of free bridging courses with financial allowances to participants to assist overseas trained professionals to undertake the additional study necessary to facilitate re-entry to the profession in Australia.
Grants to unions for the employment of ethnic liaison officers and specific projects to increase the effective participation of migrant workers in the workplace and unions.

Language and Communication

    - Opportunities for Learning English
    - Opportunities for Learning Languages Other than English
    - Use of Language Skills in the Australian Public Service
    - Education for Cross-cultural Understanding

The provision of a range of English as a Second Language programs for school children and adults, including new arrivals and job seekers and funding for workplace English programs.
Funding to support languages other than English classes both in primary and secondary schools as well as in classes held outside normal school hours by ethnic organisations. In addition to multicultural education policies in individual Australian states, the 1994 national curriculum framework included promotion of cultural education, cultural diversity and multiculturalism as cross-curriculum perspectives in all areas, but especially in the arts and studies of society and the environment.
Funding was provided for curriculum reform in the training of professionals in higher education to prepare them for working in a multicultural society.

Community Relations

    - Multicultural Legislation
    - Community Attitudes Towards Multiculturalism
    - Community Relations
    - Media and Communication Services
    - Collecting Institutions
    - Policies for the Arts

The establishment of the Special Broadcasting Service to provide television and radio services in a wide range of community languages

Box 4

Public Opinion on Multiculturalism in Australia and Canada

A recent comparative survey of Australian and Canadian public opinion concluded that in both countries there had been a hardening of attitudes against immigrants, with Australian data especially indicating that in the early 1990's there was a hostility to high levels of immigration (Holton & Lanphier, 1994, p.130). This hardening of attitudes has coincided with a prolonged economic recession in both countries.

How this hardening of attitudes towards immigration affects individuals attitudes towards multiculturalism is difficult to asses, in part because surveys of attitudes towards multiculturalism yield sometimes inconsistent results (Goot, 1993; Holton & Lanphier, 1994, p.145).

In Canada, a 1991 national survey for the government found that 61 per cent of the sample supported multi- culturalism, with support strongest among the young, the better educated and women. However, only 43 per cent believed that minorities should preserve their cultural heritage. While 79 per cent of respondents felt that multi-culturalism was essential to uniting Canada, in practice, only 47 per cent believed that it would, in fact, help unite Canada. While there were a range of negative assessments of multiculturalism's impact, these were apparently less strongly held than more positive assessments as can be seen in the following summary of multicuturalism's effects (as reported in Holton & Lanphier, 1994, pp.145-6):

It will 'enrich' Canada 62
It will provide greater equality 55
It gives all cultural groups a sense of belonging 55
It promotes foreign trade 48
Some groups will ultimately gain more than others 27
There will be increased conflict 23
The changes brought about will be too rapid 14
It will eliminate the 'Canadian' way of life 12

That a somewhat similar pattern of diverse views exists in Australia towards the effects of multiculturalism is evident from a major survey undertaken in 1988 (as reported in Goot, 1993, p.238):

Multiculturalism %
Promotes a fair go for all members of the community 62
Is necessary if people from different countries
are to live in harmony
Helps tourism and trade with other countries 85
Provides a greater variety of food, music and dance 93
Is a fact of life in Australia today 95
Is the basis of Australia's immigration policy 82
Deprives Australians of jobs 44
Means that migrants get too much help
from the government
Undermines loyalty to Australia 43
Creates suburbs with high concentrations
of ethnic groups

Although there is a consistently higher number of those who are pro, rather than anti, multiculturalism, on these measures the largest number of individuals lay in between either extreme (Goot, 1993, p.240).Those born in Asia and Europe were more supportive of multiculturalism than those born in Australia or the United Kingdom while support was strongest among those aged 20 to 39 (Goot, 1993, p.240).

A smaller, more recent survey suggests that there may not be so much difference between the Australian and over seas born, although it does not distinguish between those born in the United Kingdom and elsewhere. The June 1994 survey of 1000 persons throughout Australia (Irving Saulwick & Associates, 1994) indicated that:

- about two-thirds of both groups thought that 'Australia is a better place to live now that people from so many countries live here'.

- about 60 per cent of both groups thought that 'migrants should learn to live and behave like the majority of Australians do'. A similar proportion also agreed 'that if people from a particular ethnic background want to mix mainly with themselves, they should not be criticised for doing so' although the overseas born were slightly less likely to support this position than the Australian born.

- three quarters considered that Australia was a tolerant society although the overseas born were slightly more likely to do so than the Australian born.

In this more recent survey, as in the Canadian survey, women, young people and the better educated tended to have more liberal views.

About the author

Christine Inglis, Director of the Multicultural Research Centre of the University of Sydney, has a long-standing interest in ethnic relations and migrations, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. The role of economic and educational institutions and the part played by public policies is a particular focus of her research. She is the President of the International Sociological Association's Research Committee on Ethnic, Race and Minority Relations, and her recent publications include Making Something of Myself... Educational Attainment and Social and Economic Mobility of Turkish-Australian Young People, 1992, Asians in Australia: The Dynamics of Migration and Settlement, 1992, Global Population Movements and their Implications for Australia, 1993 and Teachers in the Sun: The Impact of Immigrant Teachers on the Labour Force, 1994.

For more information, see also:
Multiculturalism: A Policy Response to Diversity, Paper prepared on the occasion of the "1995 Global Cultural Diversity Conference", 26-28 April 1995, and the "MOST Pacific Sub-Regional Consultation", 28-29 April 1995, both in Sydney, Australia

To MOST Discussion and Policy Paper Series
To MOST Clearing House Homepage

To see the document in English
Pour voir le document en Français
Para ver el documento en Español