Study Notes

Tariq Modood (1952- )

Level:
A-Level
Board:
AQA, Edexcel

Last updated 30 Dec 2018

Leading UK sociologist

Modood has written extensively about minority-ethnic groups in the UK. Modood stresses the importance of choice when it comes to integration, rather than government or society imposing an approach.

He refers to four approaches to integration - assimilation, individualist, multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism - and argues that none of these are necessarily invalid. People may choose any one of these, perfectly validly, but they should not be forced to take a particular approach. This is an interesting contribution to debates about multiculturalism versus focusing on shared values. Modood strongly disagreed with David Cameron's famous claim that "multiculturalism has failed". Instead, Modood points out that multiculturalism has in many ways been very successful, with a great reduction in racism and racist attitudes and television programmes, movies, music associated with minority-ethnic groups have become part of the mainstream. While he argues that racism remains a problem and there is a long way to go, the worst thing would be to abandon multiculturalism.

Modood also adds to the multiculturalism debate by emphasising that strong cultural identities are a good thing. They provide people with identity, belonging, social bonds that are of benefit to them and to society. Modood argues that what he calls "radical secularism" as a response to religious diversity is inevitably illiberal (e.g. the so-called burqa ban in France). He does also argue that these strong identities do need they need to go alongside a vibrant, national narrative that emerges from debate between cultures. For Modood, "Britishness" is a very pluralistic and diverse identity that people with widely different other identities can embrace.

Modood continues to write about multiculturalism, secularism, the nature of ethnic identities for second and later generation immigrants, etc. and his work is widely cited in the sociology of culture and identity and beliefs.

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