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The complementarity of multiculturalism and interculturalism: Theory backed by Australian evidence

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
DateAccepted/In press - 12 Dec 2019
DatePublished (current) - 10 Feb 2020


The decline of multiculturalism as a public discourse has been caused by various socio-political factors – such as 9/11 and its aftermath and the growth in migration – and new pro- and anti-diversity isms have been offered instead. One such pro-diversity discourse is interculturalism. Whilst some of its advocates, especially in Quebec and Europe, have seen it as a replacement of multiculturalism, a closer examination shows a high degree of complementarity. We demonstrate this by a theoretical-normative unpacking of multiculturalism and of the claims of interculturalism, and by evidence that Australian publics see multiculturalism as supportive of interculturalism, perceived as a renewal of multiculturalism. We express the hope that the sometimes oppositional debate between these two isms may now move forward into a phase of complementarity.

    Research areas

  • multiculturalism, interculturalism, diversity, citizenship, social cohesion, Australia


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