Multiculturalism captures a wide range of ideas and policies associated with human difference and the best way to negotiate and manage cultural diversity. It is a concept that refers to the contemporary reality of pluralism in most societies, to a body of thought in political philosophy, and also to state sanctioned politics of group incorporation. In all three formulations multiculturalism has strong proponents and equally fervent critics. As a mode of state incorporation multiculturalism was adopted both rhetorically and in several policy shifts in many liberal Western nations in the postwar period. This heyday was short-lived, however, and there is now a significant political backlash against the idea of state accommodation of cultural and religious difference.
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