Multiculturalism or Transculturalism: Towards a Cosmopolitan Citizen Based on Human Rights
October 14,2014   By:Xinhuanet

Donald Cuccioletta

All nations and all peoples are living and experiencing the process and effects of globalization. However, when referring to globalization, nations are issuing statements usually regarding economic and commercial globalization. It is on rare occasions that the process of globalization is referred to in areas of immigration, movement of peoples, culture (multiculturalism) and cultural exchanges (transculturalism), the withering away of the nation-state (perforated sovereignties) and the rise of the question concerning human rights (minority or majority). In my humble opinion, these are the real challenges facing us in the continued process of globalization for the 21st century.

Will Kymlicka, Professor of Philosophy at Queens University in Canada and recognized international expert on multiculturalism and human rights, particularly minority rights, states in Multiculturalism and Minority Rights: West and East, in reference to the internationalization of the question of minority rights, "There are two linked processes at work here. First, we see the ‘internationalizing' of minority rights issues. How states treat their minority is now seen as a legitimate international concern, monitoring and intervention. Second, this international framework is deployed to export Western models to newly democratic countries in Eastern Europe'.  Of course references made here are to Eastern Europe, but since the publication of this article, we now see that this western model blankets all rising democracies of our planet. 

In a response to the western model, Daniel A. Bell, professor of political philosophy and ethics at Tsinghua University, writes in his recent book, Beyond Liberal Democracy: Political Thinking for an East Asian Context, " (…) both Western and Asian cultural traditions are complex and change a great deal in response to various internal and external pressures. Nonetheless, it is possible that most politically relevant actors, both officials and intellectuals, in East Asian societies typically endorse a somewhat different set of fundamental human goods than their counterparts in Western societies now and for the foreseeable future. Different societies may typically have different ideas regarding which human goods must be protected regardless of competing considerations, and which human goods can be legitimately subject to trade-offs with other goods as part of everyday politics. (…) It may mean that some Western conceptions of human rights are actually culturally specific conceptions of fundamental human goods, not readily accepted elsewhere, too encompassing in some cases and too narrow in others."