Majorities and Minorities
The volume "Majorities, Minorities, and the Future of Nationhood," edited by WZB Director Ruud Koopmans and Visiting Research Professor Liav Orgad, focuses on the relationship between majorities and minorities, which needs to be newly renegotiated.
The design of democratic institutions includes a variety of barriers to protect against the tyranny of the majority, including international human rights, cultural minority rights, and multiculturalism. In the twenty-first century, majorities have re-asserted themselves, sometimes reasonably, referring to social cohesion and national identity, at other times in the form of populist movements challenging core foundations of liberal democracy. This volume intervenes in this debate by examining the legitimacy of conflicting majority and minority claims. Are majorities a legal concept, holding rights and subject to limitations? How can we define a sense of nationhood that brings groups together rather than tears them apart?
The volume, which has just been published, brings together a foreword by social philosopher Charles Taylor, as well as contributions by WZB Director Daniel Ziblatt on the causes of populism, Rainer Bauböck (Austrian Academy of Sciences) on cultural majoritarianism, Will Kymlicka (Queen's University, Kingston) on citizenship and multiculturalism, and many other scholars.
Ruud Koopmans and Liav Orgad had also presented their analysis, published in the first chapter of the book, in a discussion paper. The volume received its first impetus in 2019 at the 7th Annual Conference on Migration and Diversity on Majority and Minority Rights.