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Equal RecognitionThe Moral Foundations of Minority Rights$
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Alan Patten

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691159379

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691159379.001.0001

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Immigrants, National Minorities, and Minority Rights

Immigrants, National Minorities, and Minority Rights

(p.269) Chapter 8 Immigrants, National Minorities, and Minority Rights
Equal Recognition

Alan Patten

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines a more general problem that arises with respect to minority cultural rights, including both language and self-government rights. The problem arises from the fact that most states are home to dozens, even hundreds, of cultural groups. Their members speak different languages, have different practices and traditions that they want to maintain, and, in some cases, would like for their group to enjoy some autonomy over its own affairs. To extend a full set of language rights or self-government rights to every group that claims them may cripple the liberal state's ability to pursue its legitimate objectives. In these cases, some principle is required for deciding which cultures ought to enjoy a full set of strong cultural rights and which should not. The chapter considers two different approaches to this problem. The first attaches categorical significance to the distinction between “national” and “immigrant” groups. The second answer proposes that one or more general principles be made the basis for determining the allocation of cultural rights.

Keywords:   minority cultural rights, cultural groups, language rights, self-government

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