Grasping Diversity, Embracing Democracy
Date Written: 2017-03-05
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX20545
Can Diversity Embrace Democracy? Can Democracy Acknowledge Diversity?
If there are two issues that define contemporary political debate, they are those of diversity and democracy. From the migration crisis to radical Islam to multiculturalism, fears about the consequences of diversity have become deeply rooted in Western societies. Such fears have been a major factor in the growth of populist parties, and in the electoral success of figures such as Donald Trump last year and possibly of Geert Wilders and Marine Le Pen this year. This has led many to fear for democracy itself, which they believe is being unravelled by the success of populism. It has led others to suggest that Western societies have become too democratic and that the democratic process needs to be constrained to keep out unwanted views and leaders.
To unpick the threads of this discussion, I want to do three things: First, to look at what we mean by diversity and question the idea that diverse societies are new; Second, to show how political changes in recent decades have helped unstitch democracy and diversity; and third to explore how we should relate democracy and diversity.