Brian Barry is Arnold A. Saltzman Professor of Philosophy and Political Science at Columbia University and winner of the 2001 Johan Skytte Prize in Political Science.
Concerned that rampant multiculturalism is actually dividing people instead of uniting them, Barry (philosophy and political science, Columbia Univ.) has written a comprehensive critique of multicultural policies throughout the world. The author argues that multiculturalism (a.k.a. the politics of difference or recognition) undermines the politics of redistribution, actually harming the groups it seeks to help and stands in the way of the kinds of universal policies that would benefit most members of minority groups and the society at large. He examines a wide range of multicultural legal controversies, from the practice of gypsies not to educate their children vs. the child's right to an education to the freedom of turbaned motorcycle-riding Sikhs not to wear helmets vs. public-safety laws. The author examines treating people differently in response to their different cultural beliefs, paying special attention to religion and education. His antidote is equal rights for all individuals and a normative standard of fairness that can be shared by all. Although his stance is controversial, the author makes his case through a fairly objective analysis of the legal victories of a variety of special interest groups, and his approach is rational and methodical throughout. In addition, he often proposes an alternative solution to the problem issue at hand. For academic libraries. Deborah Bigelow, Leonia P.L., N.J. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.