Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Theories of Multiculturalism
Academic Year
Semester 1
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 x 1 Hour Lectures
Seminar 10 x 1 Hour Seminars


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 3000 word essay  50%
Semester Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%
Supplementary Assessment 1 x 3,000 word essay, if essay element failed  50%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   (1 x 2 hour exam)  50%

Learning Outcomes

- Demonstrate an understanding of how recognition, and in particular cultural recognition, has emerged as a central concern in the field of political theory.
- Discuss why the growing emphasis on cultural issues proved to be particularly contentious within liberal circles.
- Critically assess the main features of Kymlicka's Liberal Multiculturalism
- Demonstrate an understanding of how these ideas represented a change of direction in terms of how many liberals believed that states should approach issues of cultural diversity.
- Critically assess the main features of the alternative approaches to Kymlicka's Liberal Multiculturalism discussed during the module (Kukathas's Libertarian Multiculturalism, Parekh's Intercultural Dialogue, Young's Differentiated Citizenship and Barry's Egalitarian Critique).
- Compare and contrast the features of these various theoretical approaches to multiculturalism.
- Examine a number of the important normative questions that any theory of multiculturalism must address
- Evaluate to what extent the growing emphasis on cultural recognition has implications for social unity and the workings of democracy


This module will introduce students to the way in which recognition of cultural diversity has emerged as a central concern for political practitioners and political theorists over the past twenty years.

As part of this, students will be asked to consider how we should respond to some of the key questions that arise once we acknowledge the diverse nature of modern societies:

- How should democratic states respond to cultural diversity?
- Can states deal with this diversity in a neutral manner?
- To what extent does offering special recognition to members of certain minority groups mean that the state is not treating everyone equally?
- Should we differentiate between the claims of various cultural groups, for example national and migrant groups?
- How should we decide which cultural demands are acceptable and which ones go too far?
- To what extent should liberal states respect minority cultural practices that clash with liberal values?

Moreover, students will evaluate the responses to such questions outlined by a number of prominent political theorists. The theorists whose work will be discussed during the module will include the following: Will Kymlicka, Chandran Kukathas, Bhikhu Parekh, Iris Marion Young a Brian Barry.

Please note: this module is also offered through the medium of Welsh. See GW37720, Damcaniaethau Amlddiwylliannedd.


- What is Multiculturalism?
- Will Kymlicka: Liberal Multiculturalism
- Chandran Kukathas: Libertarianism Multiculturalism
- Bhikhu Parekh: The Intercultural Dialogue
- Iris Marion Young: Differentiated Citizenship
- Brian Barry: The Egalitarian Critique

Module Skills

Skills Type Skills details
Application of Number Numerical data collection will not be a central component of this module.
Communication Students will learn how to present their ideas both verbally and in writing and how to assert themselves to advantage. They will understand the importance of information and clear communication. They will know how to use the many sources of information available and how to use the most appropriate form of communication to the best advantage. They will learn to consider only that which is relevant to the topic. Seminars will be run in groups where oral discussion and presentations will form the main medium of teaching and the emphasis throughout the module will be on student participation and communication. Fellow students will be encouraged to question the paper-giver to critique their approach or to suggest areas for the development of the chosen topic; in turn each will discuss the contributions and ideas of the other.
Improving own Learning and Performance The module aims to promote self-management but within a context of assistance from both the convenor and the fellow students alike. Students will be expected to improve their own learning and performance by undertaking their own research and to exercise their own initiative, including searching for sources, compiling reading lists, and deciding (under guidance) the direction of their essay and presentation topics. The need to conduct a seminar presentation and to meet an essay deadline will focus students' attention on the need to manage their time and opportunity resources well.
Information Technology Students will be expected to submit their work in word-processed format. Also, students will be encouraged to search for sources of information on the web, as well as seeking sources through electronic information sources (such as Web of Science and OCLC).
Personal Development and Career planning The discussions in particular will help to develop students' verbal and presentation skills. Learning about the process of planning an essay and a presentation, framing the parameters of the projects, honing and developing the projects and seeing through to completion will contribute towards their portfolio of transferable skills.
Problem solving Independent project work and problem solving will be one of the central goals of the module; the submission of an essay will require that the student develops independent research skills as well as problem solving skills. The need to research and prepare seminar presentations will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. The ability of students to solve problems will be developed and assessed by asking them to: adopt differing points of view; consider extreme cases; reason logically; consider similar cases; look for patterns; divide issues into smaller problems. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Research skills The submission of an essay will reflect the independent research skills of the student. The need to locate appropriate research resources and write up the results will also facilitate research skills. Research preparation for a seminar presentation will also enable the student to develop independent project skills. A final examination will ensure that an assessment of the student's ability to work alone can be undertaken.
Subject Specific Skills Students have the opportunity to develop, practice and test a wide range of subject specific skills that help them to understand, conceptualize and evaluate examples and ideas on the module. These subject specific skills include: - Collect and understand a wide range of data relating to the module - Ability to evaluate competing perspectives - Demonstrate subject specific research techniques - Apply a range of methodologies to complex political problems
Team work Seminars will consist in part of small-group discussion where students will be obliged to discuss as a group the core issues related to seminar topics. Such class room debates and discussions are a vital component of the module.


This module is at CQFW Level 6