‘And People's Concerns Were Genuine: Why Didn't We Listen More?’: Nationalism, Multiculturalism and Recognition in Europe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The aim of this article is to draw attention to the dangerous, indeed poisonous, nature of the current debates on immigration and multiculturalism in today’s ‘omniphobic’ Europe, plagued not only by a severe economic crisis, but also a more general normative crisis, a ‘crisis of values’ so to speak, which has been consistently overlooked or manipulated by politicians and academics alike, or reduced to an epiphenomenon bound to disappear when financial balances are restored. I will argue in this context that nationalism (in some cases even outright racism) is key to understanding this crisis, a catalyst acting either as a cause or a symptom, and almost always as a profound source of legitimacy. Following a brief critique of the literature on the purported ‘death’ of multiculturalism—the academic side of the same coin—the article concludes by sketching the normative contours of an alternative model of multiculturalism, one that stresses the importance of the ideas of recognition, redistribution and participation.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
  • Other Social Sciences


  • multiculturalism, nationalism, pluralism, recognition, Europe
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-321
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Publication categoryResearch