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

Fethi Mansouri, Tariq Modood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)
128 Downloads (Pure)


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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number16
Early online date10 Feb 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Feb 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


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


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