Abstract and Keywords
By finding a way to incorporate people’s cultural attachment in a liberal framework, Will Kymlicka’s Multicultural Citizenship changed the way liberal political theorists look at identity. Kymlicka argued that culture, and in particular language, could not be a private matter as liberals assumed, since every state must pick one official language (or a small number of them). Yet official languages were unfair to those who spoke a different language; additionally Kymlicka argued that individual self-respect was an important liberal value, and was tied to a secure cultural context. Critics argued that culture was hard to define, and cultural attachments were much more malleable than Kymlicka suggested. While these criticisms did undermine the power of some of Kymlicka’s arguments, one of Kymlicka’s lasting contributions is the now widely accepted idea that certain kinds of identities cannot be assumed to be a private matter.
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