A Defence of Equality among Societal Cultures
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In the current debate over equality among societal cultures, several philosophical theories have stressed the importance of politics of recognition for the acknowledgment of inequalities in opportunities and political participation that members of minority cultures face in multicultural contexts. However, until now no real agreement has been reached on the solutions to adopt for this purpose and on the precise role that cultural groups and individuals play. This situation has contributed in perpetuating contradictory beliefs on the identification of the best instruments to undertake for the reparation of this disadvantage. The scope of this thesis is to provide a solid answer to this gap through the analyses of the two notions of individual rights of cultural membership and collective capabilities for cultural groups. Rights of cultural membership will be supported by the assessment of Will Kymlicka’s definition of cultural membership as a primary good, whereas the notion of capabilities for cultural groups will represent an evolution of Martha Nussbaum’s theory of capabilities. It will be argued that capabilities for cultural groups aim to repair a disadvantage that is due to the endorsement of different conceptions of the good. In particular, the two capabilities of practical reason and affiliation will be portrayed as those criteria that should be achieved for the restoration of the deficit in opportunities, recognition and participation in public decision-making processes and freedom of affiliation, that exist between majority and minorities. Furthermore, an intermediate position between liberals and communitarians on the notion of meaningful choices will be provided. This position underlines the need to recognise and protect both freedom of choice and the contexts where choices can be made, i.e. cultural groups. In conclusion, the solution advanced by this thesis aims at the achievement of equality among societal cultures through individual rights of cultural membership and capabilities for cultural groups.