Centre for Research on Nationalism, Ethnicity and Multiculturalism Conference 2012
The idea that interculturalism should become the new and progressive narrative for multicultural societies became the main focus of the CRONEM conference at the University of Surrey. The conference, held on the 26th and 27th June, heard Ted Cantle (iCoCo Chair) give a keynote address and set out his vision for a new policy narrative of interculturalism (and is the subject of his new book: Interculturalism, The New Era of Cohesion and Diversity). Tariq Modood, Nasar Meer and Varun Uberoi, however, defended multicultural policy on the basis that its foundational elements did allow for 'less groupist' and more unifying narratives.
Both camps agreed, however, perhaps for the first time, that mulitcultural societies had to address both relational and structural issues - a theme also taken up by Mary Hickman in her address. The conference also heard from a large number of speakers from aroound the world who continued the debate in a series of workshops, many of which wrestled with the same issues.
Ted Cantle, iCoCo, commented 'this conference represented something of a turning point for me and was perhaps the first academic conference I have attended in which old style multiculturalism was no longer defended. Interculturalism seemed to get a good hearing and helped to unify the contributions of anthropology, social psychology and sociology and to set them on a progressive path.'
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