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Book Review: Us, Them, and Others and the Missing Cornerstone of Colonization

  • Jeffrey S. DenisEmail author
Book Review

Elke Winter’s Us, Them, and Others: Pluralism and National Identity in Diverse Societies is a theoretically sophisticated, empirically intriguing account of how ‘we’ become normatively pluralist or how some nations come to identify as ‘multicultural’. Winter’s central contribution is her conceptual model of pluralism as “a dynamic set of triangular relations…between unequal groups and (real or imagined) others” (p. 8). In this view, pluralism is neither a voluntary ‘concession’ by the national majority nor a purely cynical attempt at ‘containment’, but rather ‘a negotiated compromise’ in the context of ongoing power imbalance. Furthermore, the compromise between ‘us’ (national majority) and ‘others’ (minorities) becomes meaningful only through confrontation with “(real or constructed) outsiders (‘them’)”. Put simply, us + others = multicultural we ≠ them.

After firmly grounding her model in a Weberian sociology of ethnic group relations, Winter then applies it to the Canadian case...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SociologyMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada

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