literature · synopses
Cornwell / Eve Walsh Stoddard (eds.):
Global Multiculturalism. Comparative Perspectives on Etnicity, Race, and Nation.
Lanham, MD et al.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2001.
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers:
This book is composed of a variety of comparative studies on the themes of ethnicity, race and nation. Based on analyses of phenomena like the diaspora and its effects on multicultural states, these studies show us a profound insight into the distinct sociological elements that determine the make up of a nation. The studies showed evidence that the newest states, especially those that resulted from »arbitrary colonialism,« are immersed in the process of defining their national identity while encompassing all ethnicities that make up the diversity of these states.
A case study on Trinidad and Tobago deals with three relevant points that are especially important to achieve a balance among »one single nation and one single territory« and the distinct cultures that are based on religions in that country. There are three topics of critical importance, and not just for Trinidad but also for many other nations: the ideal formula for achieving national unity in a multicultural democracy; the ideal formula for simultaneously achieving the consolidation and the development of each distinct culture; and the ideal formula for creating a common culture.
The case of Trinidad and Tobago shows clear and profound elements of the three formulas, all of which apply to both the lower and the higher classes of society. The case is very helpful not only because it generated strategies that may be reproduced but also because it gives us a concise model of how democracy can be effective in a multicultural society.
Other cases include an examination of the Chinese on Thailand and the aspects of ethnicity, power and structure in cultural opportunities; the French who are descendants of immigrants from Northwestern African countries and their struggle with increasing prejudice from those who claim that unemployment, among other problems, results from the presence of these immigrants in France. Like previous studies, there were various analyses of states that are rich in diversity and how those who comprise this diversity face distinct conflicts that result from this very wealth of diversity.
This book offers great lessons on tolerance and how, as human beings, we often must learn to live with the characteristics that are distinct about us. The message is very clear: we need to learn to be respectful and tolerant of ethno-cultural diversity as well as be able to deal with our differences through dialogue and peaceful methods, which are the tactics that in the end will yield results.