Pluralism and the Politics of Difference: State, Culture, and Ethnicity in Comparative Perspective

Hardcover | September 1, 1998

byR. D. GrilloAs told byR. D. Grillo

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Is a plural, polyethnic, democratic society possible? Starting with Ernest Gellner's observation that `culturally plural societies worked well in the past', but `genuine cultural pluralism ceases to be viable under current conditions', this study explores pluralism in three settings; earlystates, modern industrial societies, and the contemporary `postmodern' world. Through a nuanced discussion ranging from pre-colonial Africa and Mesoamerica, to European and American experiences in the twentieth century, Grillo explores the ways in which different social and political forms cope withethnic and cultural diversity. The study uncovers a range of different kinds of pluralism, from out-and-out separatism, through varieties of multiculturalism, to looser forms of `hybridity'. Rather than advocating one configuration over another, this important new book outlines the range of choices facing our societies as,moving into the twenty-first century, we try to reconcile the competing demands of universalism and difference.

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Is a plural, polyethnic, democratic society possible? Starting with Ernest Gellner's observation that `culturally plural societies worked well in the past', but `genuine cultural pluralism ceases to be viable under current conditions', this study explores pluralism in three settings; earlystates, modern industrial societies, and the co...

Ralph Grillo is Professor of Social Anthropology in the School of African and Asian Studies, University of Sussex. He was formerly Dean of the School of African and Asian Studies (1988-93), and Director of the Centre for the Comparative Study of Culture, Development and the Environment (1994-7).

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Format:HardcoverPublished:September 1, 1998Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198294263

ISBN - 13:9780198294269

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Table of Contents

1. Plural Societies2. Pluralism and the Patrimonial State: Pre-Colonial Africa3. Pragmatism against Morality: Ethnicity in the Aztec Empire4. Pluralism in a Patrimonial Bureaucracy: The Ottoman Empire5. Ethnic and Cultural Pluralism in the Colonial Social Order6. The Jacobin Project: The Nation-State and the Enemy Within7. `Nation of many nations?' The United States and Immigration, 1880-19308. A `magpie society'? From `Assimilation' to `Integration' in Britain and France9. Multiculturalism and Beyond10. Pluralism and the Postmodern Condition

Editorial Reviews

`thoughtful and timely study ... an important feature of the book is the nuanced discussion of pluralistic systems in precolonial Africa, the Ottoman Empire, and native America.'O Pi-Sunyer, CHOICE Oct 1999 Vol 37 no 2