Multiculturalism and Social Inclusion: notes from a talk to TASA Melbourne 8 July 2010


TASA:  Migration, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism (MEM) Thematic Group  Melbourne 8 July 2010
(Speakers at Forum: from L, Jenny Semple SEAMRC, VMC chair George Lekakis, SEAMRC workers Neela and Nyadang, and ICD chair UTS Professor Andrew Jakubowicz)

Some thoughts on speaking about Multiculturalism: a recent post
•         I find your efforts to destroy any sense of Australian white identity repulsive and racist. By pandering to “diversity” you are committing cultural racial genocide.  …It is a slow motion soft holocaust. The only way a white person could do this, is if they are either brain damaged, or..if they were a member of a community which does not see itself as part of that community. ie.. the Jewish community.

•         You maintain yourselves in isolation, and seek opportunities of influence.. and then use them (as you are doing) to weaken any sense of identity which might represent a threat to YOUR community. I regard you as an utter racist.. an anti white racist. Whether you see ‘whiteness’ as a social construct or racial one.. the end result of attacking white identity is the same.

•         I urge and encourage you to reverse your “Diversity” emphasis and try a different approach “preserving Australian identity and emphasizing assimilation and integration”   (David Ross June 2010).

•         “Race safety depends upon race discipline, and every unit of society should contribute his or her personal quota…” (Bostock and Nye 1934)

Framing the debate as sociology

•         Argues that “society” is real and social effects have real impacts

•         Understands cultural diversity from a number of different dimensions – Weber’s Ethnic/status groups; Durkeim’s collective consciousness; Marx’s view of culture/ideology as materially-rooted; Milton Gordon’s cultural and structural pluralism;  post-structural identity theories (eg Iris Marion Young, David Theo Goldberg; GhassanHage).

•         Draws on Honneth’s sense of reciprocity of recognition

•         Sociologies of cultural diversity create “multiculturalism” as something in the realm of culture not in realm of “structure”, allowing multiple frames of meaning within socio-economic boundaries.

•         Sociologies of social stratification and social policy create “social inclusion” as a case study in systemic  failure: ie society as a mal-functioning system for the allocation of scarce resources

•         Together they draw on the “culture of poverty” perspective to implicate mal-adaptive behaviour in inter-generational sub-cultural milieu

Applying sociology

•          Cultural pluralism imported into Australia from US/Canadian debates through work of Jerzy Zubzrycki, inflected by studies by Znaniecki of American immigrants and their transformation and Park of contact/conflict/competition; concerned that culture and structure should NOT align

•          Key worry was of an “ethnicised” class/status nexus, thus problem seen to be getting immigrant buy-in to the wider social mores, while ensuring immigrant or ethnic status was not a marker of disadvantage or barrier to mobility

•          Strong “progressive/conservative” commitment to multiculturalism as  demobiliser of class and ethnic based social movements; liberal concern with equality of opportunity; Left concern with racist marginalisation by white unions etc.

Examining multiculturalism

§  Many sets of meanings and everyday behaviours are able to co-exist in open liberal capitalist societies, where market rewards capacity

§  State intervention is necessary to reduce barriers to participation (eg discrimination, qualifications, language acquisition)

§  State intervention is necessary to ensure “social cohesion”, manage conflict, enhance creativity

§  Cosmopolitanism and multilingualism seen as added advantages & benefits of diversity in globalising world

Examining Social Inclusion

§  Locality based interventions reflecting UK and US experiences

§  Shadows of 19th century social eugenics

§  Focused on dysfunctionality of family and neighbourhood

§  Most extreme version is “Intervention”: Foucauldian surveillance through normalisation/ internalisation of social order

§  Seeks to build “social capital” in a lock step of bonding and bridging

Linking Multiculturalism to Social Inclusion

§  Sustained advocacy from critics, to include cultural diversity in social inclusion (board) discourse: initial resistance, even though SIB identified Indigenous priorities

§  By Jan 2010 SIB recognition of refugee and immigrant presence, signalling that racism was important, noting lack of data (after 15 years of conservative denial) Stronger Fairer (??)  Australia

§  People of Australia Report reinforces priority for inclusion of “all Australians” in Inclusion strategies

Human Rights, Multiculturalism & Social Inclusion

§  African Australian human rights links racism directly to social inclusion. Defines cultural maintenance and values as bases for successful social integration. Family health requires cultural affirmation within framework of human rights.

§  Key words in relation to multiculturalism and human rights:

ú  Social Justice (Hawke and Keating era)

ú  Social Cohesion (Howard era)

ú  Social Inclusion (Rudd/Gillard era)

Australian Empire Project

§  Subordinating Indigenous peoples

§  Competing empires: fear of invasion

§  Building a people from diverse populations