Ethnicity and Group Rights

Nomos XXXIX

by Ian Shapiro, Will Kymlicka

Series: NOMOS - American Society for Political and Legal Philosophy (No. 12)

Within Western political philosophy, the rights of groups has often been neglected or addressed in only the narrowest fashion. Focusing solely on whether rights are exercised by individuals or groups misses what lies at the heart of ethnocultural conflict, leaving the crucial question unanswered: can the familiar system of common citizenship rights within liberal democracies sufficiently accommodate the legitimate interests of ethnic citizens.

Specifically, how does membership in an ethnic group differ from other groups, such as professional, lifestyle, or advocacy groups? How important is ethnicity to personal identity and self-respect, and does accommodating these interests require more than standard citizenship rights? Crucially, what forms of ethnocultural accommodations are consistent with democratic equality, individual freedom, and political stability? Invoking numerous cases studies and addressing the issue of ethnicity from a range of perspectives, Ethnicity and Group Rights seeks to answer these questions.