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The challenge of cultural diversity: the limited value of the right of exit

Fagan, A (2017) 'The challenge of cultural diversity: the limited value of the right of exit.' Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy. ISSN 1369-8230

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Abstract

This article traces recent trends in British politics, liberal political theory and human rights law in order to demonstrate why the right of exit – made famous in the political theory of multiculturalism by Chandran Kukathas – may be able to mediate tensions between them. I argue that the right of exit is an insufficient test for consent because some cultures may render some members incapable of effectively exercising their autonomy. I use empirical evidence drawn from legal cases and social science in conjunction with a philosophical account of agency as fundamentally ‘relational’ to unpack and defend this controversial claim. Understanding agency in relational terms sheds light on precisely how oppressive culturally permitted relationships can simultaneously constitute some individuals’ primary identities while serving to harm those very same individuals in the process. This account of agency and culture also avoids both the liberal assumption of a sovereign self and also any essentialism or reification of culture. I suggest that for an individual to have the capacity to effectively use of the right of exit, they must be able to conceive of themselves as an agent, which includes having a sense of their own moral worth and the ability to imagine the possibility of living a different kind of life.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Multiculturalism, political liberalism, human rights, cultural diversity, right of exit, relational agency
Subjects: K Law > K Law (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
Depositing User: Jim Jamieson
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2016 11:07
Last Modified: 08 Jan 2018 16:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/17193

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