Culture and Diversity in John Stuart Mill's Civic Nation

Utilitas 25 (1):96-120 (2013)
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Abstract

In this article, I develop a conception of multiculturalism that is compatible with Mill's liberal framework. I argue, drawing from Mill's conception of the nation-state, that he would expect cultural minorities to assimilate fully into the political sphere of the dominant culture, but to assimilate only minimally, if at all, into the cultural sphere. I also argue that while Mill cannot permit cultural accommodations in the form of self-government rights, he would allow for certain accommodation rights which assist cultural minorities in preserving their cultural particularity. While this is indeed a modest multiculturalism, it helps to demonstrate that Mill was not as hostile towards custom or minority groups as certain passages may appear to suggest.

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Jason Tyndal
College of Southern Nevada

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