The three strands of intercultural policies: a comprehensive view

A critical review of Bouchard and Cantle recent books on interculturalism

By Ricard Zapata Barrero

 

Ricard Zapata BarreroWithin the emerging policy debate on interculturalism we critically review two recent books in 2012: Bouchard's L'interculturalisme: un point de vue quebecois, and Cantle's Interculturalism: The New Era of Cohesion and Diversity. In my view, both contribute very directly to open a foundational debate on interculturalism.

 

In addressing the point of convergence and the dividing lines of these two contributions, I will claim that in spite of having one core concept of interculturalism, there are, however, at least two basic conceptions that have to be interpreted in complementary ways: Bouchard's essay represents the contractual strand, Cantle's book the cohesion strand.

 

At the end I would also suggest that these two strands do not manage to express explicitly that diversity can also be seen as a resource of innovation and creativity, and so can drive individual and social development. This view is based on the diversity advantage literature already informing most of the diversity debate in Europe and elsewhere.

 

This is what I will call the constructivist strand. My ultimate purpose is to defend a comprehensive view, grounded on the argument that no one can have the sole authority to define intercultural policy, since the three strands can be applied at different moments, according to different purposes and policy needs. The challenge now is that policy managers be able to achieve a balance between these three policy drivers.

 

The three strands of intercultural policies: a comprehensive view. A critical review of Bouchard and Cantle recent books on interculturalism