What are Fleras and Elliot's four major critiques of multiculturalism in Canada?

Quick answer:

Fleras and Elliott list four main critiques of multiculturalism in Canada: 1). It is divisive; 2). It is marginalizing; 3). It is essentializing; and 4). It is a hoax. These are the main arguments used by opponents of Canada's rapidly growing move towards a more multicultural society.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Augie Fleras and Jean Leonard Elliot outline four major critiques of multiculturalism in Canada:

1). Multiculturalism is divisive. As Fleras and Elliott point out, critics of multiculturalism argue that it undermines the coherence and stability of Canadian society by promoting cultural diversity at the expense of national unity.

2). Multiculturalism is marginalizing. Critics argue that multiculturalism effectively ghettoizes communities, making it more difficult for meaningful interaction between different cultures to take place.

3). Multiculturalism is essentializing. It takes the cultural differences that exist between different groups in Canadian society and essentializes them. That is to say, it fossilizes inter-cultural differences and posits the distorting notion that Canada is made up of a collection of autonomous ethnic groups, each one self-contained, determining, and controlling.

4). Multiculturalism is a hoax. Or, to put it another way, it's a sham. It pretends to deal with the problems of racial and cultural oppression, but in fact does not do so because it fails to address the deep-seated structural causes of inequality in society.

An additional critique of multiculturalism addressed by Fleras and Elliott is that it is hegemonic, that is to say it is an instrument of control used by the social and political elite to achieve consensus by manipulating people's consent without their awareness. Far from empowering minorities, therefore, multiculturalism contains them as much as all other groups in society.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial