Volume 11, 2008
A Non-Essentialist Approach
This paper is dealing with a contradiction in the theory and policy of minority rights: on the one hand the claims for such rights are justified by recognizing the value of the cultural identity of minority groups, on the other – the recognition of such a value implies an acceptance of a conservative and isolationist view on
minority identities. Characterizing the latter view as essentialist I explore several alternatives for approaching the issue of minority rights in a different way and finally I reach the conclusion that one more convincing method of identifying the cultural needs of minority groups and the rights necessary for satisfying these needs could be the technique of public deliberation. Its application for this purpose could make the negotiating of group-specific rights much more flexible and politically unproblematic than at present.