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Social Science Minority Studies

Genuine Multiculturalism

The Tragedy and Comedy of Diversity

by (author) Cecil Foster

McGill-Queen's University Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2014
Minority Studies, General
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
    List Price
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2014
    List Price

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While many modern societies are noted for their diversity, the resulting challenge is to determine how citizens from different backgrounds and cultures can see themselves and each other as equals, and be treated equally. In Genuine Multiculturalism, Cecil Foster shows that a society's failure to bridge these differences is the tragedy of modern living and that pretending it is possible to mechanically develop fraternity and solidarity among diverse groups is akin to seeking out comedy. Arguing that genuine multiculturalism is the search for social justice by individuals who have been trapped by ascribed identities or newcomers who have been shut out of perceived ethnic homelands, Foster details how this process, in essence, is the story of the Americas. Reconceptionalizing the terms of multiculturalism, he offers an intervention into Canada's claim that its definition and practice are based on recognizing equality of citizenship. Identifying genuine multiculturalism as an ongoing work in progress, rather than a tightly defined policy position, Foster challenges readers to imagine a greater and more harmonious ideal. A necessary theoretical reconsideration of diversity within society, Genuine Multiculturalism refocuses the debate about ideals and practices in modern societies.

About the author

CECIL FOSTER was born in Barbados and immigrated to Canada in 1978. He has been a reporter for The Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and the Financial Post and has contributed to such magazines as Chatelaine, Maclean’s, Toronto Life, NOW and Canadian Business. He has also worked for the CBC (in radio and television) and CTV and is a regular commentator in the national media. He has published five works of non-fiction and four novels, including his highly praised debut, No Man in the House. Currently, Foster is a professor of sociology at the University of Guelph and is director of graduate studies in the department of transnational studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Independence is his first novel in almost twelve years.

Cecil Foster's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This important book discusses the theory of the ideals of multiculturalism, citizenship, and lived experience in the context of Canadian nation building. [It] makes a significant contribution to political philosophy, sociology, and cultural studies. Hig

“Genuine Multiculturalism offers an intervention into the Canadian claim of a conception and practice of multiculturalism based on recognition of the equality of citizenship. It is a major contribution to social, philosophical, and literary debates about the ideal and practice of multiculturalism in (post)modern societies and extends the existing scholarship in critical ways.” Andrea A. Davis, Department of Humanities, York University

“Genuine Multiculturalism is a well-crafted, complex study that will cause a buzz across North America and Europe.” W. Andy Knight, director, Institute of International Relations, The University of the West Indies professor, University of Alberta

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