Between justice and tradition: Oliver O’Donovan’s political theory and the challenge of multiculturalism

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Abstract

This article brings the theological political theory of Oliver O’Donovan to bear on the issue of multiculturalism. O’Donovan’s work provides resources for understanding the dynamics involved in debates over multiculturalism more deeply, and this discussion in turn highlights the central features of O’Donovan’s political theory. O’Donovan’s understanding of government as involving a necessary tension between the requirements of justice and the possibilities afforded by a community’s tradition allows us to properly appreciate the challenge raised by the demand to recognise minority cultures, without abandoning the obligation to do so. This further highlights that the challenge of multiculturalism is first and foremost a social challenge, which can only meaningfully be met through communication.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)417-430
Number of pages14
JournalStudies in Christian Ethics
Volume27
Issue number4
Early online date09 Oct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2014

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