Type: Definition Essays
Sample donated: Mack Boone
Last updated: December 29, 2019
QUICK REVIEW OF GROUP DIFFERENTIATED RIGHTS/MULTI-CULTURALISM.
ACCORDING TO Will Kymlicka PRESENTED BY OKPOR JOHNBUL NNAMDIAslong as human being decide to co-exist, multi culture will always continue tobe a term that will always come into play, there is no typical society withwhich the presence of multi culture cannot be felt, to better understand whatmulti culturalism is , one must first look at the definitionSoI have outlined a summary of what multi culturism is all about, multi culturism is thepreservation of different cultures or cultural identities within a unifiedsociety, as a state or nation. When there is the presence of, or support forthe presence of, several distinct cultural or ethnic groups within a society,we refer such conditions as multi-cultural. Multiculturalism is closely associated with “identitypolitics,” “the politics of difference,” and “the politics of recognition,” allof which share a commitment to revaluing disrespected identities and changingdominant patterns of representation and communication that marginalize certaingroups (Gutmann 2003, Taylor 1992, Young 1990).Iam yet to find a society where this system multi-cultural is not yet adopted.
Multiculturalism is before anything else a theory about culture and its value.Hence, to understand what multiculturalism is it is indispensable that themeaning of culture is clarified. So I will try to outline five concepts thatbest describe what culture is: A culture is semiotic, normative, societal,economic/rational choice and the anti-essentialist cosmopolitanism conceptionsof culture. Therefore, it is possible to simultaneously defend, say, a semioticconception of culture and admit that a culture may have normative, societal,economic and cosmopolitan features.
Multi culturism is as old ashumanity-different cultures have always look for ways to co exit, and alsorespect for diversity. Groupdifferentiated rightsToproper understand what’s group differentiated right is, one needs to take alook at what group rights is all about, will kymlicka, a Canadian politicalphilosopher view on Groups rights and group differentiatedAgroup right is a right held by a group as a group rather than by its membersseverally, this definition has been argue about whose is entitle to hold theright in the group. Others do not, butworry about the threats that such rights pose for individuals and their rights.
They, in turn, are met by claims that individual rights and group rights,suitably formulated, are complementary rather than conflicting and that somegroup rights might even be human rights. A group right is a right possessed bya group rather than by its members. Not emphasizing on right held by anindividual person as an individual. A clear example of a commonly assertedgroup right is the right of a nation or a people to be self-determining. Oneshould not confuse group’s right with the right people possess in virtue ofbeing a members of group.
The right of a citizen to vote in elections, is theright of an individual person. Grouprights can be legal or moral or both, group right should not therefore beidentified with a “group-differentiated” right. That term has been coined byWill Kymlicka (1995) to describe a right that is accorded to a particular groupbut not to the larger society within which the group exists. For example, asociety might accord special rights, such as special territorial rights orrights of self-government, to an indigenous minority in recognition of thespecial status that that minority should enjoy within the larger society, orout of concern for the vulnerability of the minority’s traditional form oflife. These would be “group-differentiated rights”. That term is now sometimesabbreviated to “group right”, which is unfortunate since a group-differentiatedright may or may not be a group right in the ordinary sense (a right possessedby the group qua group rather than by its members severally). For example, ifthe group-differentiated right is the right of a group to be self-governing, itwill be a group right. But if it is, for example, a right unique to the membersof an indigenous minority to fish in certain waters and if that right is vestedin, and is exercisable by, the several individuals who make up the minority, itwill be a group-differentiated individual right.
(Kymlicka 1995, 45–48; Jones2010.)Groupdifferentiated rights entails: Rights that vest on the basis of an individual’smembership in a particular social or cultural group are an increasingly commonaspect of modern liberal legal systems. Such rights have been granted toindividual members of a broad array of social groups to remedy inequities associatedwith, for example, the members’ race, sexual orientation, gender, age, economicor disability status.
Rights similarlyhave been afforded to individual members of cultural groups constitutedaccording to nationality, ethnicity or religion, to acknowledge and accommodateparticular beliefs or practices, or in recognition of collective claims toself-government or property. Yet sincegroup-differentiated rights openly distinguish among classes of persons in thedistribution of social benefits and burdens, this form of right has long beenthe source of significant controversy within liberal political theory (Eric J.Mitnick) ThreeModels of Group-Differentiated Rights as illustrated by Eric J. Mitnick A.
AscriptionAnyright granted will of necessity be granted to a class of persons. Rights-claimants able to demonstratesufficient congruity between their own particular circumstances and thecriteria indicated by a right’s investitive conditions will be included in aclass of rights-bearers. Rights-claimantswho fail to meet such investitive criteria, and so are deemed in some importantrespect dissimilar from those entitled to exercise the right, are therebyexcluded from the class. Where thedissimilarity between the classes of persons included and excluded from theright is founded upon an ascribed characteristic (e.g., a moral or intellectualtrait associated with the right-claimant’s race or gender), both the inclusionand the exclusion will result in the construction of social groups.
Membership in such an ascriptive social groupwill contribute both to social and self-perceptions of the individual members’identities. Consider, for example, the evolutionof the class of persons granted the right to vote in the United States. At the founding, American suffrage remainedconditioned on state imposed landed property qualifications, usually combinedwith specific legal exclusions for persons who were not free, white, male andoften adherents of a particular religion. Each such categorical exclusion was justified on the basis ofinegalitarian ascriptive assumptions regarding the excluded persons’ race,culture, gender, religion or economic status. Persons within these categories, it was thought, could not possiblypossess the moral, civic and intellectual traits required of theelectorate. As a result, each suchperson was excluded from membership in the American political class. At the same time, persons thus ascriptivelyexcluded were simultaneously included in a social group (or groups) constructedaccording to the characteristic (race, gender, etc.
) that served as the basisfor the assumed incapacity. Andmembership in each such social group, together with its inegalitarianascriptive subtext, would thus come to define an aspect of each individualmember’s identity. Further, on theopposite side of this rights equation, the categorical inclusion of freeholderswas justified on the basis of similarly inegalitarian, though now moresanguine, ascriptive assumptions regarding such persons’ intellectual and moralcapacities and civic propensities.
And,hence, membership in this more favored social group would come then toconstitute an aspect of each individual “citizen’s” social identity. Further examples of ascriptivedifferentiation in legal rights abound. In the Dred Scott case, individuals of African descent were ascriptivelyexcluded from the class of constitutional persons deemed competent to bearrights, with obvious effects on social and self-conceptions of such”non-persons.” Disabled individuals toowere long subject to ascriptive classification as non-persons forconstitutional purposes.
In the privatelaw context, married women were in most states deemed incompetent to contractor possess property, reflecting the strikingly ascriptive notion that a womanmight cease to possess a separable identity upon marriage. In each of these cases, individualswere sorted, and aspects of human identity defined, by law on the basis ofinegalitarian ascriptive criteria. Theloss in constitutive autonomy in such a context is at an extreme.
Of course, such cases are now far less commonin modern liberal democratic legal systems. Yet the constitutive influence of such laws is instructive in assessingtwo other, currently more prevalent, forms of differentiated citizenship. Both rights that seek specially to affirm thestatus of individual group members, and rights that would enable members ofcultural groups to self-exclude, share with ascriptive rights a formalresemblance and an influence on their claimants’ social identities. And yet in each case the moral calculus isimportantly different. B. Affirmation At times a right will be grantedonly to a particular subset of persons as part of an attempt to reverse theinegalitarian consequences of a previous ascriptive exclusion, or to remedy theexclusionary effects of social practices other than law itself. And yet even this effort, an effortultimately to include otherwise subordinated persons, will of necessity resultin the legal system excluding a category of persons. Although formally similar, this type of legalexclusion is of a substantively different nature than the ascriptiveexclusionary process discussed above.
The exclusion of a dominant class from a right granted to oppressed personsis justified not on the basis of negative inegalitarian characteristicsascribed to the excluded class, but rather on the ground that the particularremedy afforded the included class will be conducive to genuine equality oftreatment for all. In such a case, theexclusion may function affirmatively to include a category of persons in needof special protection. Mention of the affirmative form ofgroup-differentiated right will bring immediately to mind disputes over thelegitimacy of programs of affirmative action. And, indeed, a right to affirmative action on the basis of, say, past orcontinuing racial discrimination, clearly would fall within this category. Other examples of such rights of affirmationconsidered in the longer paper include the recently passed Vermont Civil Unionsand Reciprocal Beneficiaries Law, which in an effort to protect the interestsof same-sex couples constitutes a new form of legal relationship, the “civilunion,” and the Americans withDisabilities Act, which grants rights against discrimination specially todisabled persons. Asin the ascriptive exclusionary cases described above, group-differentiatedrights of affirmation sacrifice not only formal equality of treatment but also,potentially, individual constitutive autonomy.
This is so because the bearers of such rights are sorted and defined bylaw as members of particular social groups. At the same time, this does not mean that such rights are necessarilyinconsistent with a liberal conception of membership, although presumptivelythey may be so. Whether the presumptionmay be overcome will depend on whether the moral cost in constitutive autonomyis sufficiently offset by the advantage inclusion brings. Thus, while the right to form a civil union,as opposed to a marriage, perpetuates legal and social differentiation, the lawalso importantly grants to same-sex couples all legal benefits to which marriedcouples are entitled. While rights toaffirmative action may further construct social perceptions of the members ofsubordinated social groups, such rights also afford their bearers precisely thesorts of opportunities necessary more fully to construct their identities inother spheres. Indeed,group-differentiated rights of affirmation are inherently constitutive, butthey are also often among the most crucial to the realization of justice foroppressed persons. C.
Culturalization In contrast both to rights thatascriptively constitute individuals as members of social groups, and rightsthat seek affirmatively to include members of subordinated groups, are rightsthat permit members of cultural groups, or the groups themselves in acollective capacity, the freedom to exclude themselves from some aspect ofsocial life. Unlike ascriptive andaffirmative rights, such culturally-differentiated rights often directly fosterconstitutive autonomy by enabling cultural group members to construct their ownparticular social identities. In theUnited States, religious conduct exemptions constitute perhaps the most prominentexample of this form of group-differentiated right. Such exemptions permit cultural group membersto differentiate themselves from broader social groups, and in the process toconstitute further their particular identities.Adilemma, though, arises when the collective constitutive autonomy secured byculturally-differentiated rights is used by elites within minority culturalgroups to subordinate more vulnerable members.
Indeed, at times the nomos or traditional precepts of certain culturesexplicitly prescribe repression of individual members and internalsub-groupings, most particularly women. Where this is the case, the moral costs apparent in the ascriptivedifferentiated citizenship model are merely revived at a different level. Cultural self-exclusion often facilitates thecapacity to self-define that is so central to a liberal conception ofmembership. But that constitutivecapacity loses its liberal coherence when aspects of individual identities areconstructed involuntarily, as they are when cultural groups useaccommodationist policy to subjugate vulnerable members.
kymlickaexplain the three forms of group differentiated rights· Self-governmentrights· Polytechnicrights and· Specialrepresentation tightsCarefullyexamining this three forms will give us an intimate understanding of what groupdifferentiated right entailsself-governmentrights