The Backlash against Multiculturalism

by Steven Vertovec and Susanne Wessendorf

Despite the ‘-ism’ suggesting a distinctive ideological canon, multiculturalism is actually rather hard to pin down. Numerous

philosophies, institutional frameworks and political interventions have been referred to under a collective rubric of multiculturalism. Yet social scientists have identified a wide variety of types of multiculturalism. A divergent set of civic programmes might be labeled as ‘radical multiculturalism’ or ‘polycentric multiculturalism’ (Shohat & Stam 1994), ‘insurgent multiculturalism’ (Giroux 1994), ‘public space multiculturalism’ (Vertovec 1996), ‘difference multiculturalism’ (Turner 1993), ‘critical multiculturalism’ (Chicago Cultural Studies Group 1994), ‘weak’ or ‘strong’ multiculturalism (Grillo 2005). Indeed, Steven Vertovec (1998) has pointed to at least eight different kinds of multiculturalism while Garard Delanty (2003) suggests another list with nine types of multiculturalism.

Steven Vertovec/ Susanne Wessendorf (eds.), The Multiculturalism Backlash. European Discourses, Policies and Practices, London/ New York 2010.

When attempting to bracket together an array of public measures as ‘multiculturalism’, the task is further complicated if undertaken comparatively across countries most known for the implementation of policies deemed, officially or not, multicultural: Australia, Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Sweden and the Netherlands. These countries – and different cities within them – have not undertaken the same approach, introduced the same measures nor set up the same institutions. Even within a single country, policies relevant to an overall multicultural agenda have not taken the same perspectives, aims and course of development. Hence, as Stuart Hall (2001: 3) observes, ‘Over the years the term “multiculturalism” has come to reference a diffuse, indeed maddeningly spongy and imprecise, discursive field: a train of false trails and misleading universals. Its references are a wild variety of political strategies.’

That it is difficult to formulate a specific corpus of tenets or practices around multiculturalism should come as no surprise. Gary Freeman (2004) importantly points out that practically everywhere, governments have dealt with immigrant and ethnic minority incorporation through a rather disordered closet full of measures. ‘No state possesses a truly coherent incorporation regime,’ Freeman (Ibid.: 946) notes, ‘Instead, one finds ramshackle, multifaceted, loosely connected sets of regulatory rules, institutions and practices in various domains of society that together make up the frameworks within which migrants and natives work out their differences.’ Such a patchwork of policies indeed characterizes numerous domains of public governance. Rather than a singular set of well-integrated policies and institutions, most often we find ‘subsystem frameworks that are weakly, if at all, coordinated’ (Ibid.).

Moreover, Freeman observes, ‘immigrants are mostly managed via institutions created for other purposes’ (Ibid.: 948). That is, immigrants and ethnic minorities engage, and are incorporated through, a range of public institutions including: various levels of administration from neighbourhood associations and municipal councils to regional and national government departments; schools and universities; libraries; hospitals and health clinics; law courts and the police; social services; youth clubs; employment agencies; sports and leisure facilities; and various forms of print, radio, television and internet media.

Within and cutting across such varied institutions, the rubric multiculturalism has entailed diverse measures such as:

  • Public ‘recognition’: support for ethnic minority organizations, facilities, and activities; public consultative bodies incorporating such organizations;
  • Education: consideration for dress codes, gender-specific practices and other issues sensitive to the values of specific ethnic and religious minorities; creation of curricula reflecting the backgrounds of ethnic minority pupils (intended to teach non-ethnic minority children about the background of their peers, and to bolster the self-images of ethnic minority pupils); mother tongue teaching and language support; the establishment of minority groups’ own schools (usually religious, publically financed or not);
  • Social Services: information, restructuring and retraining for delivering culturally sensitive practices among public employees, social workers, healthcare providers, police and courts;
  • Public materials: state-sponsored information (such as health promotion campaigns) provided in multiple languages;
  • Law: cultural exceptions to laws (such as Sikhs being allowed to wear turbans instead of motorcycle helmets); oaths on sacred books other than the Bible (e.g., Qur’an, Bhagavad Gita); recognition of other marriage, divorce and inheritance traditions; protection from discrimination or incitement to hatred;
  • Religious accommodation: permission and support for the establishment of places of worship, cemeteries and funerary rites; allowance of time off work for worship;
  • Food: allowance of ritual slaughter; provision of proscribed foods (halal, kosher, vegetarian) in public institutions;
  • Broadcasting & media: monitoring of group images to ensure non-discrimination or to avoid stereotypes; provision of own media facilities for minority groups.

A singular principle does not equally infuse all these domains. That is not to say, however, that within and across these domains, and within a number of countries since the 1960s, a range of institutional initiatives have not had some broad, complementary objectives. Foremost among these we can identify tenets aiming to: reduce discrimination; promote equality of opportunity and overcome barriers to full participation in society; allow unconstrained access to public services; recognize cultural identities (as opposed to assimilation) and open-up public spaces for their representation; and foster acceptance of ethnic pluralism and cultural understanding across all groups. These are dissimilar objectives requiring different public measures, but obviously they sit well together. In this way, multiculturalism can at best be described as a broad set of mutually reinforcing approaches or methodologies concerning the incorporation and participation of immigrants and ethnic minorities and their modes of cultural/religious difference.

The rise of the Backlash

Prompted by the public debates around a number of usually nationally specific events (such as the London and Madrid bombings, or the release of national census statistics depicting poor socio-economic standing among ethnic minorities), the backlash against multiculturalism has involved specific idioms or tactics of condemnation. Sometimes these are used in conjunction, or argued through one line of reasoning that depends on another. In each case the discursive strategy is posited upon portrayals of multiculturalism that are set up to be readily and plainly impugned. The portrayals themselves, it will be shown below, are demonstrably partial, erroneous or false. Nevertheless in these ways across Europe, we witness remarkably common claims by way of critical assessments of multiculturalism. Drawing upon a few exemplary statements again mostly from Britain, but resonating in backlash discourse elsewhere, we outline the core critiques found since the turn of the millennium in the backlash against multiculturalism – we should say, what critics claim to be multiculturalism.

Multiculturalism is a single ‘doctrine’

A basic device common to most such critiques is to describe and emphasize multiculturalism as a singular, fixed ideology or dogma. In this way ‘it’ can be more readily condemned. Proponents of backlash discourse either don’t know about, overlook or purposefully ignore the diffuse and myriad patchwork of policies, practices and institutional adjustments through which immigrant and ethnic minority accommodation and incorporation are actually undertaken. Instead, critics find it important to paint an undemanding picture of an integrated and dominating ‘multicultural industry’ comprised of White liberals and ethnic minority activists. In this way columnist Melanie Phillips (2006a) suggests that ‘Multiculturalism became the driving force of British life, ruthlessly policed by an army of bureaucrats enforcing a doctrine of state-mandated virtue to promote racial, ethnic and cultural balkanization’; Sunday Times writer Jasper Gerard (2006) describes how ‘many immigrants, encouraged by multicultural orthodoxy, retreat into their differentness’; Patience Wheatcroft (2006) writes in the Daily Telegraph how ‘The doctrine of multiculturalism dictated that all beliefs should be allowed to flourish,’ while the Daily Mail’s James Slack (2006) describes ‘the dogma of multiculturalism’ and ‘the Left-wing doctrine’ which ‘dictates that different communities should not be forced to integrate. Instead, they are allowed to maintain their own cultures and identities.’ With such a consolidated enemy to fight, politicians can mount campaigns. Hence in 2007 Conservative Party leader David Cameron criticized ‘the creed of multiculturalism’ for contributing to a ‘deliberately weakening of our collective identity’ (in The Economist 2007); Cameron has therefore picked a fight with, as he calls it, the ‘disastrous’ and ‘discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism’ (Daily Mail 26 February 2008).

Multiculturalism stifles debate

Drawing on the idea that multiculturalism is comprised of a single, prevailing ideology that has been foisted on the country, critics contend that this has created an atmosphere in which thought and speech is controlled. In this way many backlash critics claim daringly to speak out against a ‘tyranny of political correctness’ (Wheatcroft 2006) that has stifled any attempt to discuss race and immigration in, as they see it, real terms. For instance David Cameron has attacked multiculturalism and its concomitant ‘fear of causing offence or being branded a racist’ (Daily Mail 26 February 2008). With another way of positing this, a senior politician of the German CDU party, Volker Kauder, said that certain subjects had become ‘taboo’ in public and that ‘the time of looking away and blindness resulting from a false multi-culti ideology is over’ (Bild 1 April 2006). Another example comes from Britain’s Daily Express (2007a), which asserted that Muslims and Islamist terrorists have been ‘allowed to live an existence entirely separate from the non-Muslim neighbours’; consequently, ‘The era of politically correct cultural surrender must be brought to an end.’

Multiculturalism has fostered separateness

With multiculturalism presumably identified so concretely, probably the most common complaint is that ‘it’ has led directly to social breakdown. This is particularly claimed in terms of multiculturalism promoting ethnic separatism, an explicit rejection of common national values, and a lack of interest in social integration. For instance, David Davis, the Conservative shadow Home Secretary, has said Muslims must start integrating into mainstream British society (Daily Telegraph 4 August 2005), ‘signaled a shift away from the policy of multi-culturalism, which allows people of different faith and cultures to settle without expecting them to integrate.’ He suggests that ‘often, the authorities have seemed more concerned with encouraging distinctive identities rather than promoting the common values of nationhood.’

John O’Sullivan (2007) wrote in the Daily Telegraph that ‘“multiculturalism” encourages minorities to retain their culture and identity. Thus, our rulers set out, eager and well-intentioned, to maximize the differences and therefore the tensions inherent in diversity.’ The Conservatives happily continued this theme, with David Cameron warning that ‘multiculturalism – the idea that different cultures should be respected to the point of encouraging them to live separately – had dangerously undermined Britain’s sense of identity and brought about “cultural apartheid”.’ (Daily Mail 26 February 2008). Much of this kind of discourse stems from the 2001 Cantle Report and its image of ‘parallel lives’.

In Germany, where the notion Parallelgesellschaften (‘parallel societies’) has existed since a prominent report of the 1990s, the backlash against multiculturalism has been argued directly in terms of self-separating, ‘parallel societies’ (Focus 24 October 2004, Tagesspeigel 17 January 2008). Similarly in France, this image of increasing separateness of some parts of the population has been expressed by way of the fear of a ‘balkanisation’ of French society and concerns about ‘communitariansim’ (Simon and Sala Pala, 2010).

Multiculturalism refuses common values

Another aspect of the argument that multiculturalism promotes separatism is that it is thereby not interested in any form of commonality. This was even the view of one New Labour Home Secretary in Britain, David Blunkett, who was weary of an ‘unbridled multiculturalism which privileges difference over community cohesion’ (Blunkett 2002: 6). Since, some suggested, ‘a blend of multiculturalism and Europeanism [has] drained all pride and meaning out of Britishness’ (O’Sullivan 2007), the solution must be to drop multiculturalism and promote national identity. This was exactly Trevor Phillips’ 2004 argument, mentioned above, which was depicted as the Left ‘waking up’ to the damage multiculturalism had done. For the right, this has been clear all along.

For example, in 2007 a report by the right-wing thinktank Policy Exchange castigated ‘multi-cultural policies implemented since the 1980s which have emphasized difference at the expense of shared national identity and divided people along ethnic, religious and cultural lines’ (Daily Mail 29 January 2007). In Germany, too, such discourse is present (despite the clear lack of multicultural policies; see Schönwälder 2010); there, Stefan Lust has argued in that multiculturalism’s insistence on recognizing identities-of-origin, instead of a common host-culture, ‘must lead to disaster’ (Tagesspiegel 17 January 2008; also reiterated in his 2008 book Abschied von Multikulti, ‘Farewell to Multiculti’). Multiculturalism has, he claims, inherently led to separation and ethnic conflict in places like the UK and the Netherlands.

Multiculturalism denies problems

The idea that a single ideology has controlled the ability to see things clearly, to speak about them truthfully, and to promote commonality have been conjoined in an argument that multiculturalism refuses to acknowledge social problems connected with immigrants and ethnic minorities. This was a key feature of Paul Scheffer’s (2000) original critique: that is, that a new divide has emerged within Dutch society, particularly represented by a new class of the economically and socially unsuccessful – a group made up of non-Western migrants and their second and third generation offspring. The government turns a blind eye towards this new division, Scheffer said, since it seeks only to praise the multicultural society from an illusory cosmopolitan viewpoint. A similar claim has been made by the Mayor of Berlin’s borough of Neukölln, Heinz Buschkowsky: he castigated a ‘multi-culti-romanticism’ that closed the eyes of politicians to a ‘ticking time-bomb’ situation of ethnic separatism and disaffected youth (Focus 24 October 2004). A further example came in 2006 when Bild newspaper interviewed historian Arnulf Baring, who represented the view that Ausländer (‘foreigners’) in Germany don’t accept German culture and that this is simply overlooked by many. ‘It’s not the Germans who are the fools,’ Baring said, ‘but the politicians and do-gooders who have given us decades of a multicultural dream’ (Bild 5 April).

Multiculturalism supports reprehensible practices

Cultural relativism – itself portrayed as all-aspects-of-all-cultures are good – is depicted as the underpinning the blindness of the doctrine of multiculturalism. For this reason multiculturalism, critics say, supports backward minority cultures’ unequal treatment of women, forced marriages, honour killings and female genital mutilation. Critics draw on such examples to profess moral outrage, again boldly and candidly against an overbearing climate of political correctness. Paul Cliteur (2001), writing in NRC Handelsblad, condemned politicians and the intellectual elite for upholding their view that all cultures are equal. Cultural relativism, he said, serves only to suppress an open debate about common values. According to Cliteur, it is nonsensical to state that all cultures are equal since some cultures are evil, some cultures suppress women, and some cultures excessively punish misdemeanours.

Such views have been long present in Britain too (especially around the Rushdie Affair and its depiction of Muslim intolerance), but the tragedy of 7/7 terrorism particularly sparked this backlash idiom. Immediately after the event, Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips (2005) wasted no time in blaming multiculturalism. She contested that in the wake of the London bombings, ‘Muslims have been presented not as the community which must take responsibility for this horror, but as it principal victims.’ Combining several of the backlash tropes outlined above, Phillips continued,

This moral inversion is the result of the cultural brainwashing that has been going on in Britain for years in the pursuit of the disastrous doctrine of multiculturalism. This has refused to teach Muslims – along with other minorities – the core of British culture and values. Instead, it has promoted a lethally divisive culture of separateness, in which minority cultures are held to be equal if not superior to the values and traditions of the indigenous majority.
Even worse, multiculturalism causes the moral paralysis of “victim culture”, whereby to say an ethnic minority is at fault is to invite immediate accusations of racism.
We have already paid a terrible price for multiculturalism and this cancer of moral inversion and irresponsibility.

On anniversary of 7/7 and with the flagrant headline ‘Multiculturalism has let terror flourish in Britain’, Britain’s Daily Express (2007b) wrote about Muslims: ‘Many will not understand our culture, our attitude to women, our liberal values. Many will not even want to try. At best they will be out of touch, at worst they will be inclined to radicalise the young and spread the word that leads to death and terror. The pernicious doctrine of multiculturalism has allowed this situation to develop. The Government must not allow it to continue.’ Managing to combine three key idioms (multiculturalism as single doctrine, the fear of concession to Islam, the fostering of separatism) in one sentence, Tory leader David Cameron said that ‘The reality is that the introduction of Sharia law for Muslims is actually the logical endpoint of the now discredited doctrine of state multiculturalism – instituting, quite literally, a legal apartheid to entrench what is the cultural apartheid in too many parts of our country’ (Daily Mail 26 February 2008).

Multiculturalism provides a haven for terrorists

As already indicated by Melanie Phillips’ interventions, among others, public discourses comprising strands of a backlash against multiculturalism have combined with fears surrounding terrorism (or, some would say, a manipulation of such fears). Following the arrest of 17 Muslims charged with terrorism in Canada, Phillips (2006c) herself wrote:

In particular, both Canada and Britain need to face the fact that multiculturalism, which for both countries is an article of faith, has brought havoc in its wake. This doctrine holds that all minority cultures must enjoy equal status with the majority, and that any attempt to impose the majority culture over those of minorities is by definition racist. It has helped create a cultural vacuum into which has roared militant Islamism – the interpretation of Islam that preached holy war. Multiculturalism not only creates the environment in which this clerical fascism can flourish but – crucially – also undermines our ability to defend ourselves against it.
… Multiculturalism has exacerbated the alienation that has left so many British Muslims vulnerable to the siren song of jihad.

In more condensed form, Phillips (2006b) states that ‘Multiculturalism plus radical Islam is an explosive cocktail.’ Moreover, said Tory shadow Home Secretary Dominic Grieve (Guardian 27 Sept 2008), multiculturalism in the UK has left a ‘terrible’ legacy, creating a vacuum that has been filled by extremists from across the political spectrum. He said ‘long-term inhabitants have been left fearful’.


Across a range of countries, there seems to have arisen a kind of convergence of backlash discourse, idioms and stratagems attacking a presumed multiculturalism. Although each set of public debates has developed within discrete national political contexts, there has subsequently emerged, too, a convergence of policy responses. As summarized by Gary Freeman (2004: 945), across Western democracies ‘there is now a clear trend toward a middling form of incorporation – call it integration – that rejects permanent exclusion but neither demands assimilation nor embraces formal multiculturalism.’

While focused on ideas of integration, the form this policy strategy takes is practically everywhere permeated with notions of ‘diversity’, especially surrounding the value of ensuring expressions of cultural and religious difference. In public debates – especially when combined with or echoing elements of multicultural backlash discourse – the integration theme might come across as highly proscriptive and based wholly on majority cultural values. But despite the ‘integration’ banner, when one examines the gamut of local and national policies – now, as before, ‘ramshackle, multifaceted, loosely connected sets of regulatory rules, institutions and practices in various domains of society that together make up the frameworks within which migrants and natives work out their differences’ (Ibid.: 946) – there does not seem to have materialized a particularly heavy-handed neo-assimilationism or ‘new assertiveness’ described by some commentators.

If there was such a hard assimilationist approach re-emergent, one would expect a more manifest cancellation of programmes, restructuring of services, and rolling back of cultural accommodation measures. While the prominent discourse of ‘integration’ has certainly been placed at centre stage, complete with a number of new policy initiatives, the question remains: why are politicians and policy-makers still making so much effort to ‘promote’ and ‘value’ diversity? To answer that it’s all meaningless rhetoric just to get votes is simply too flippant and cynical: there is real and extensive public money, political commitment, and institutional activity surrounding the diversity agenda across Europe. A full answer to that question ‘why is there still so much attention to diversity?’ is beyond the scope of this Introduction; for now, it is important just to raise the question as a way of rebuffing the death-of-multiculturalism / return-of-assimilationism claim.

Again, following the backlash against multiculturalism that has occurred in public discourse since the turn of the millennium, we have seen that at least in policy development and especially on local levels, ‘In many ways this retreat from and open hostility to multiculturalism is, on examination, an exercise in avoiding using the term “multiculturalism” rather than moving away from the principles of multiculturalism altogether’ (McGhee 2008: 85). This is not to say that the widespread backlash has had no impacts other than killing the ‘M-word’. Relentless attacks on multiculturalism – and thereby on basic principles of accommodating cultural and religious difference – might not have changed the basis of policies radically, but they have certainly fomented a negative atmosphere surrounding immigrants, ethnic minorities and particularly Muslims.

The backlash discourse has not necessarily been racist in itself, but for those with racist views it provides ample wind to their sails. As Veit Bader (2008: 11) says of anti-multiculturalism pronouncements in the Netherlands, ‘Even if they have not been followed by similarly dramatic changes in actual policies…, they have not been innocent (the ‘power of words’). The political climate became increasingly inimical towards “aliens”, “asylum seekers”, “immigrants” and “allochtonen” [non-Dutch-born].’ Overall public opinion might not have been greatly altered, but the terms in which politicians and media pundits address migration and ethnic minority issues have been reworked. Such changes in terms of public discourse ultimately find their way into everyday discourse. These processes put truth to the adage, ‘shit sticks’. That is, if a negative image – no matter how untrue – is persistently directed at something or someone, even after its correction a certain amount of enduring damage is done.

The backlash against multiculturalism in Europe demonstrates how public discourse, policies and public opinion do not form a piece: while certainly touching and even influencing one another from time to time, in effect they move disjointly. The backlash discourse has been strong in its own right; it’s fair to say that some political reactions have ensued – but these seem to have mainly taken the form of rhetorical adjustment rather than a significant alteration of course. Public opinion surprisingly does not appear to have profoundly changed in this period either, in spite of the media backlash and even notwithstanding significant events like the London bombings.

The mixed, and not terribly deep, impacts of the multiculturalism backlash show the absurdity of generalized headlines like ‘Europe’s Failed Multiculturalism’ (Washington Times 2004) and ‘Europe Backs Away from Multiculturalism’ (Forbes 2006). A close look at national – and particularly, local or municipal – policies reveals that multicultural principles generally remain intact, and may even be embellished through their incorporation into ‘integration’ and ‘diversity’ agendas. In sum, it is fair to conclude (with Will Kymlicka, 2010), that ‘reports of multiculturalism’s death are very much exaggerated.’



  • Bader, V. (2008) ‘Associational governance of ethno-religious diversity in Europe: The Dutch case,’ conference paper presented at the Penn Program on Democracy, Citizenship, and Constitutionalism
  • Bild (2006a) ‘Polizei bewacht härteste Schule Deutschlands,’ 1 April
    Id.: (2006b) ‘Multi-Kulti ist gescheitert,’ 5 April
  • Blunkett, D. (2002) Integration with diversity: Globalization and the renewal of democracy and civil society, London: Foreign Policy Centre Chicago Cultural Studies Group (1994) ‘Critical multiculturalism’, in Multiculturalism: A Critical Reader, D.T. Goldberg (Ed.). Oxford: Blackwell, 114-39
  • Cliteur, P. (2001) ‘Niet alle culturen zijn gelijkwaardig,’ NRC Handelsblad, 16 October
  • Daily Express (2007a) ‘We should abandon failed policy of multiculturalism,’ 2 July
    Id.: (2007b) ‘Multiculturalism has let terror flourish in Britain,’ 7 July
  • Daily Mail (2007) ‘Multiculturalism “drives young Muslims to shun British values”,’ 29 January
    Id.: (2008) ‘“Sharia law will undermine British society,” warns Cameron in attack on multiculturalism,’ 26 February
  • Daily Telegraph (2005) ‘Multicultural Britain is not working, says Tory chief,’ 4 August
  • Delanty, G. (2003) Community, London: Routledge
  • The Economist (2007) ‘Bagehot: In praise of multiculturalism,’ 16 June
  • Focus (2004) ‘Angst vor ungebildeten Moslems,’ 24 October
  • Forbes (2006) ‘Europe backs away from multiculturalism,’ 20 October,
  • Freeman, G.P. (2004) ‘Immigrant incorporation in Western democracies,’ International Migration Review 38(3): 945-69
  • Gerard, J. (2006) ‘Be clear, this is Asian apartheid,’ Sunday Times 27 August
  • Giroux, H.A. (1994) ‘Insurgent multiculturalism and the promise of pedagogy’, in Multiculturalism: A Critical Reader, D.T. Goldberg (Ed.). Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 325-43
  • Grillo, R. (2005) ‘Backlash against diversity? Identity and cultural politics in European cities,’ Oxford: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society [COMPAS] Working Paper WP-05-14
  • Guardian (2008) ‘We’ve done something terrible to ourselves in Britain,’ 27 September
  • Hall, S. (2001) ‘The multicultural question,’ Milton Keynes: Open University Pavis Papers in Social and Cultural Research no. 4
  • Kymlicka, W. (2010) ‘The Rise and Fall of Multiculturalism? New Debates on Inclusion and Accommodation in Diverse Societies,’ in The Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies and Practices, S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (Eds.), London and New York: Routledge, pp. 32-49
  • Lust, S. (2008) Abschied von Multikulti: Wege aus der Integrationskrise, Munich: Resch-Verlag
  • McGhee, D. (2008) The End of Multiculturalism? Terrorism, Integration and Human Rights, Maidenhead: Open University Press
  • O’Sullivan, J. (2007) ‘Social acid has burnt the heart of Britain,’ Daily Telegraph 16 August
  • Phillips, M. (2005) ‘This lethal moral madness,’ Daily Mail 14 July
    Id.: (2006a) Londonistan: How Britain is Creating a Terror State Within, London: Gibson Square
    Id.: (2006b) ‘The Londonistan mindset,’ New York Post 4 June
    Id.: (2006c) ‘The country that hates itself,’ Canada National Post 16 June
  • Scheffer, P. (2000) ‘Het multiculturele drama,’ NRC Handelsblad, 29 januari 2000
  • Schönwälder, K. (2010) ‘Germany: Integration Policy and Pluralism in a Self-Conscious Country of Immigration,’ in The Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies and Practices, S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (Eds.), London and New York: Routledge, pp. 152-169
  • Shohat, E. & R. Stam (1994) Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media, New York: Routledge
  • Simon, P. & V. Sala Pala (2010) ‘“We’re not all Multiculturalists Yet”: France Swings Between Hard Integration and Soft Anti-Discrimination,’ in The Multiculturalism Backlash: European Discourses, Policies and Practices, S. Vertovec and S. Wessendorf (Eds.), London and New York: Routledge, pp. 92-110
  • Slack, J. (2006) ‘Why the dogma of multiculturalism has failed Britain,’ Daily Mail 7 July
  • Tagesspeigel (2008) ‘Multikulti ist gescheitert,’ 17 January
  • Turner, T. (1993) ‘Anthropology and multiculturalism: What is anthropology that multiculturalists should be mindful of it?’, Cultural Anthropology 8: 411-29
  • Vertovec, S. (1996) ‘Multiculturalism, culturalism and public incorporation’, Ethnic and Racial Studies 19(1): 49-69
    Ibid: (1998) ‘Multi-multiculturalisms,’ in Multicultural Policies and the State, M. Martiniello (Ed.), Utrecht: ERCOMER, pp. 25-38
  • Washington Times (2004) ‘Europe’s failed multiculturalism,’ 10 December
  • Wheatcroft, P. (2006) ‘Multiculturalism hasn’t worked: let’s rediscover Britishness,’ Daily Telegraph 8 October

Excerpt from the book: The Multiculturalism Backlash. European Discourses, Policies and Practices, Steven Vertovec and Susanne Wessendorf (eds.), London and New York: Routledge, 2010.


Steven Vertovec is Director of the Max-Planck-Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and Honorary Joint Professor of Sociology/ Ethnology, University of Göttingen. Susanne Wessendorf is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at this Institute.


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