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Multiculturalism online: the internet and the dilemmas of multicultural politics

By E. Siapera


This article is concerned with the politics of multiculturalism as encountered on the internet. Theoretically, it examines the different normative positions vis-à-vis multiculturalism in the works of Charles Taylor, Jürgen Habermas, Jeremy Waldron and Nancy Fraser. Three main dilemmas emerge: essentialism or fluidity of identities; universalism or particularism; and recognition or redistribution. These are empirically examined subsequently through online portals developed by four minority communities in the UK. Eight portals, developed by black British, Indian/South Asian, Chinese and Muslim communities were analysed with a view to understanding how such dilemmas are understood in online environments, taken to represent a version of everyday political conduct. The analysis focused on addressees/interlocutors, communicative forms and users, indicating that all multicultural dilemmas are enacted online. Following an agonistic model of politics, the article suggests that multicultural politics should be understood as an open arena for the struggle between these dilemmas

Year: 2006
DOI identifier: 10.1177/1367549406060804
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