2nd Pavia Graduate Conference in Political Philosophy – Abstract/Beck

F.F. Mansvelt Beck

Liberalism, Minorities and the Politics of Societal Differentiation

It is because minority cultures play a crucial role in shaping the identity of their members that they should be preserved. Only when this is truly understood does it become possible to envision a liberal model of politics that adequately addresses the specific needs of minority groups. Stating that the concern underlying the demand that the minority identity must be preserved is in fact the same concern underlying liberal theory – a concern for the individual well-being of individuals – this paper argues that what is necessary for that well-being is that every individual be accorded the recognition that is crucial to his human development. In pluriform societies, this can be done through a politics of societal differentiation, which ensures that the societal structures of minority cultures that are crucial for recognition are maintained.