Deveaux Offers Plans for Just Pluralism in New Book

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, communications assistant; tele: (413) 597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., Feb. 21, 2001 — How can a liberal democracy protect the rights of its minorities? In a new book, Williams assistant professor of political science Monique Deveaux might provide some answers.

In “Cultural Pluralism and Dilemmas of Justice,” published by Cornell University Press, Deveaux searches for a way to provide “justice amid diversity.” Traditional liberal theory, she writes, is “ill-equipped” for the purpose.

The book dissects the work of liberal and democratic political philosophers, taking them to task for too neatly dividing social and political spheres and for focusing on individual interests at the expense of important collective identities.

Deveaux’s solution is “deliberative liberalism,” an approach that combines an active, citizen-led challenge of political norms – the chief tenet of “deliberative democracy” – with key liberal values of consent and respect.

As illustrations of the potential of such an approach, she discusses a wide range of claims for greater cultural recognition by national minorities – such as Aboriginal groups in Australia and Canada – and recent immigrants communities in Europe and North America.

And, she brings some of her own life to her scholarship. Her interest in the topic of collective identity, she writes, “has evolved out of my experience as a Canadian from a rapidly diminishing cultural group,” the French-speaking Acadians in Canada’s Atlantic provinces.

After graduating with honors from McGill University, Deveaux earned her master of arts from there. She received her Ph.D. in social and political sciences from the University of Cambridge, and did her post-doctoral research at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School in 1997-98. She has taught at Williams College since 1998.

Attn. Press: Review copies are available from Cornell University Press
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