Journal of the Department of Behavioural Sciences
Vol. 1, (1), March 2012
MULTICULTURALISM AND ITS DILEMMAS: A PROLOGUE
J. G. La Guerre
Much of the debate on multiculturalism has so far been directed to the following themes - differences between 'race' and 'culture', a container view of the state, the disconnect between nation and state or to use Rex's definition, in terms of nations and nationalism, the consequences of immigration, globalization and the displacement of traditional elites. It will emerge however, that on closer inspection, multiculturalism and how it is defined is a resource that groups employ to achieve their interests, however articulated.
A great deal of the debate has also focused on the issue of race and culture. It is accordingly important to recognize the importance of the difference between the two concepts. The idea of race has a lot to do with the earlier conception of race in terms of physical attributes, such as size of skull, nature of the hair, height and colour and size of the lips. In short visibility of individuals becomes an essential ingredient in the identification of 'races'. The notion of culture, on the other hand, refers to the practices, customs and way of life of a group of people or of groups as they cope with the problems that confront them in a specific context.