Accommodating Disadvantaged Cultural Minorities

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This essay concerns how a liberal government could properly accommodate disadvantaged cultural minorities in a multicultural society. Minorities typically suffer from various oppressions in everyday life. This essay will first examine two orthodox liberal approaches to this question. Theorists such as Chandran Kukathas argue that these ‘oppressions’ are not oppressive at all. They are only ‘opportunity costs’, which are faced by other people as well. I argue, however, that, although these oppressions are opportunity costs, a liberal government should not keep silent about them, for these opportunity costs are involuntarily imposed on minorities in an uneven manner. On the other hand, theorists such as Will Kymlicka argue that minorities should be compensated for this inequality by assigning group rights. I agree with Kymlicka that minorities should be compensated, but I disagree with his method of assigning these rights. Kymlicka’s approach relies on a problematic distinction between national minorities and ethnic groups. This overlooks the subjective affinity of individuals and simply classifies people according to their objective attributes. Finally, I will suggest my approach toward this question, which proposes that government should classify people according to their subjective affinity, an aim which can only be achieved by developing an institutional mechanism for collecting information about individuals’ subjective affinity and thereby assuring a voice for each society member through a comprehensive survey.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepresentation and Contestation
Subtitle of host publicationCultural Politics in a Political Century
EditorsChing-Yu Lin, John McSweeney
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9789042031500
ISBN (Print)9042031492, 9789042031494
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Philosophy
  • Political Science and International Relations

User-Defined Keywords

  • Cultural policy
  • group rights
  • Kukathas
  • Kymlicka
  • multiculturalism


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