Pragmatic pluralism, multiculturalism, and the new Hispanic

José Medina*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


Now that cultural differences have come under suspicion with ethnic profiling, now that a postracial and postethnic American identity is often invoked, now that the process of globalization is countered with the affirmation of national identities and indigenous races and ethnicities, now more than ever, a pragmatic reconstruction of the place of ethnic diversity and multiculturalism in our lives is needed. Drawing on American and Latin American philosophers such as John Dewey, Alain Locke, and José Martí, my essay will articulate a thoroughgoing pluralistic view of ethnic identity in general and of Hispanic identity in particular. I will argue that the best way of elucidating ethnic experiences and identities without relying on essentialist assumptions is offered by a radical pluralism that we can find in the pragmatist tradition. This radical pluralism understands ethnic identity as intrinsically heterogeneous, that is, as necessarily containing inner diversity. In this pluralistic view, the unity of ethnic groups is conceived as "a unity through diversity" (Locke's phrase), and ethnic solidarity is genealogically explained as being made out of differences (not in spite of them, sacrificing them, or erasing them). I will examine the critical power of this pluralistic view and how it can help us solve the problems that multicultural societies face today. In particular, I will focus on a central challenge that cultural diversity raises in the post-colonial and globalized world of the twenty-first century, namely: how to recognize and respect cultural differences without exoticism or commoditization, that is, without contributing to their marginalization or subjecting them to the homogenizing forces of a global market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPragmatism in the Americas
PublisherFordham University Press
Number of pages28
ISBN (Print)0823233677, 9780823233670
StatePublished - Jan 1 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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