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By Augie Fleras (auth.)

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Multiculturalism may be both good and bad simultaneously, both liberating yet marginalizing, unifying yet divisive, inclusive yet exclusive, with benefits yet costs. The benefits of multiculturalism cannot be discounted, thus reflecting the ability of the powerless to convert the very tools for controlling them into levers of resistance and change (Pearson 1994). However, recourse to official Multiculturalism can depoliticize the potency of difference by channeling it into the private or personal. Far from being a threat to the social order, multiculturalism as governance constitutes a discourse in defense of dominant ideology.

A commitment to cultural homogeneity, which was once envisaged as indispensable for national identity and social integration, is now sharply contested. Government policies and governance structures may have sought to centralize all power and authority, to privilege the dominant language and culture across all public institutions, and to render invisible the presence of minorities within the public domain (Kymlicka 2007c). But the politics of multiculturalism is now calling the shots. New governance arrangements are evolving that incorporate minority rights and identity claims without revoking the principles of social justice or the pursuit of national unity (Inglis 1996).

The politics of multicultural governance addresses the challenge of putting these seemingly contradictory proposals into transformative practice the politics of multicultural governance. Diversity and difference in historical perspectives In the post-9/11 era of borders, security, and homegrown terrorism, the inescapable seems inevitable. The paradigmatic expression of multicultural governance is inseparable from diversity politics and the politics of difference—with or without official approval.

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