Minority Rights through or against Majorities in Immigrant Welfare States
24 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2019
Date Written: June 1, 2019
A Presentation to the WissenschaftsZentrumBerlin (WZB) Conference on Majority and Minority Rights
It is hardly surprising that the topic of “majority rights” is being discussed at the WZB at this time. Not long ago, it would have been intellectually disreputable, politically toxic, and morally outré for a liberal or social democratic institution to focus on the rightness or plausibility of cultural and legal claims made by the majority at the presumed expense of minorities. Of course, the economic claims of the many against the few, of working people against economic elites, were fair game. But it has in large part been the inability of law, politics, and culture in the nation state over the past generation to regulate or discipline contemporary capitalism that has brought us to the current impasse where liberal democracy, including its focus on culture and on minority rights, does not seem to be serving the interests of majorities. With that crisis, certain pillars of the liberal state, pillars meant to serve both majorities and minorities, natives and immigrants, have come to be questioned – above all the adequacy of universalist civic nationalist identities or Verfassungspatriotismus. In their place we see renewed concerns with social cohesion and social solidarity, defined visà- vis both established older minorities and more recent immigrants through the lens of historical, ethnic and cultural majority identities and preferences.
Keywords: immigration, citizenship, welfare state, rights, minorities, majorities, ethnicity
JEL Classification: K37, P16, Z13, J15
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation