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Final Paper:

Migration and diversity:


how multiculturalism is lived and (re)defined
in Argentina

Ms. Mara Paula Subia


19 June 2013

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

FINAL PAPER:
Migration and diversity:
how multiculturalism is lived and (re)defined in Argentina

Table of Contents

1.

Introduction......................................................................................................p. 3

2.

Theoretical and methodological framework...................................................p. 5

3.

Argentinean institutional frame and political discourse on


migration and multiculturalism........................................................................p. 8

4.

Contemporary Argentinean context: a crisol de razas?...............................p. 11

5.

Conclusions.....................................................................................................p. 14

6.

Bibliography....................................................................................................p. 17

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

1.

Introduction

In the last decades, cultural diversity has been receiving an increasing attention both at
the academic and the political level, and not only in Western countries but also in
regions such as Latin America. According to Banting & Kymlicka, many Western
democracies have abandoned earlier policies that discouraged ethno-cultural diversity
and have turned to a more accommodating approach, which was reflected by the
adoption, in their terms, of multicultural policies for immigrant groups, national
minorities and indigenous peoples (2006:1). In the Latin American context, which is
essentially different to the one analyzed by the authors, the attention has been put
mainly in the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples, that for centuries had been
either marginalized or assimilated to the main population.
In particular concerning my country of origin (Argentina), it can be noticed that a
growing scholarly discussion on the relation between multiculturalism and migration
has been taking place since the turn of the century. With regards to immigration, the
recent legal framework and the current political discourse have marked a rupture with
past visions based on national security and control in the sense of restriction, which
used to portray immigration as a problem or even a threat. In an innovative way if
compared to the contemporary context in developed countries, Argentina has started to
shift towards an approach that considers the state as responsible for all its residents and
guarantor of their human rights, while also broadens the notion of citizenship and
moves from an assimilationist to a cultural pluralism perspective in the formulation of
public policies (Domenech, 2007:2).
Yet, in the last few years some debates have been arising within the academia on the
actual effects that these changes may have had in the treatment of cultural diversity
resulting from immigration to the country. It has been affirmed by some authors that the
adoption of a cultural pluralism discourse has not implied a corresponding abandonment
of historical assimilationist assumptions (Courtis, 2010:5; Domenech, 2007:7;
Domenech and Magliano, 2008:424-5). Thus, some limitations can be found within the

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

state approach itself on how to incorporate, recognize and manage multiculturalism,


especially in what concerns immigrant diversity.
Even if at the level of state policies it can be said that the country still has not developed
a comprehensive multicultural approach, Argentina has been considered as a
multicultural country not only since its first immigration waves, which go back to the
19th century, but even since the colonization period as well (Domenech, 2003:35).
During our lectures on Citizenship, Multiculturalism and Education we explored the
various meanings that can be given to the term multiculturalism, mainly focusing on
developed countries/Western democracies. For that reason, I deemed interesting to
examine how the concept is elaborated in a developing country such as Argentina,
whose form of government, even if formally labelled as a democracy, has its own
differentiating characteristics, with much more in common with the Latin American
situation as described by Held (2004:127-9). Hence, in this paper I intend to explore the
question of how multiculturalism is experienced and defined (or redefined) in the
country, in particular in what concerns the diversity resulting from contemporary
immigration. This question is, in my view, narrowly linked to how Argentina can be
considered a multicultural country.
With the aim of answering that question, I begin by referring to the theoretical and
methodological framework I have used for writing this paper, discussing what we can
understand by multiculturalism(s). On the one hand, I will try to specify the use of the
concept I position myself closest to, while, on the other hand, it will be differentiated to
the ones of interculturalism and cultural pluralism. In the third section, I intend to
examine the Argentinean institutional level, in order to explore to what extent
legislation and policies are addressing migration and multiculturalism, taking also into
account the current prevalent political discourse on these issues. Subsequently, in
section four I analyze the present Argentinean context, exploring the definition of the
society as multicultural and discussing its historical characterization as a crisol de
razas, of which the (not entirely literal) meaning in English would be melting pot.
Finally, in the conclusions I present my reflections on how multiculturalism is lived and
(re)defined in Argentina, not only considering the institutional level but also, and
interrelated to it, the society as a whole.

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

2.

Theoretical and methodological framework

The development of this final paper is based principally on the review of literature on
the issue under examination, which was performed between late-April and May 2013.
In what concerns the conceptual frame for the subject of multiculturalism(s), and
specifically its interaction with that of immigration, I resourced to the literature we
worked with during our modules lectures. In particular, I consider necessary to bring
up: on the one hand, Luki Hacins To Think and Live Multiculturalisms in Various
Migration Contexts of European Union Member States (2007) and Multicultural
citizenship and multiethnic patriotism? (2009), while, on the other hand, Kymlickas
Multiculturalism: Success, Failure, and the Future (2012) and Banting and Kymlickas
Multiculturalism and the Welfare State: Recognition and redistribution in contemporary
democracies (2006). At the same time, additional literature was suggested to us, among
which I paid special attention to Parekhs Rethinking Multiculturalism: Cultural
Diversity and Political Theory (2000).
For the purpose of this paper, and among the various views on multiculturalism(s), I
position myself closer to the critical one, as I share with it the perception of differences
not as an aim but as a given fact, and of existing relations and subordination of
ethnically and culturally different as historically and culturally/socially conditioned
and mostly dependant on the division of power (Luki Hacin, 2009:154). Nevertheless,
this does not exclude that I might take into consideration some aspects that I consider
useful in the analysis done by authors that have extensively worked on multiculturalism
issues, though from a different stance.
At this point, I should specify what I understand by such a root concept as culture. In
line with Parekh (2000:2-3), it consists in the body of beliefs and practices in terms of
which a group of people understand themselves and the world and organize their
individual and collective lives. According to Luki Hacin, cultures are neither fixed
conditions nor absolute, but processes which change, come into contact with each
other, and overlap or diverge (2009:9). This way, cultural differences are to be
considered relative and as dynamic interactions.

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

In Parekhs view, multiculturalism pertains to cultural diversity or culturally embedded


differences (2000:3). It would be appropriate to clarify that I refer to it in what
concerns relations inside a nation state, while I distinguish it from the concepts of
interculturalism and cultural pluralism, both of them currently widely used within
Argentinean academia. With reference to the latter, Luki Hacin specifies that it has to
do with the use of different languages as second or third language, which opens the
possibilities for communication between members of different cultures (2009:152).
Regarding interculturalism, she indicates that it suggests cross-connections between
members of different cultures and that it does not differ so much from the concept of
multiculturalism in its critical/radical sense (Luki Hacin, 2009:152). Meer and
Modood argue that it is in fact a political discourse, whose positive features highlighted
by its supporters (encouraging communication, recognising dynamic identities,
promoting unity and critiquing illiberal cultural practices), are all important or even
foundational in multiculturalism as well (2012:175).
In the specific case of Argentina, following the categorization in three ethno-cultural
diverse groups introduced by Banting and Kymlicka (2006:52), and given my academic
and professional interest in human mobility issues, I have decided to focus on the state
of multiculturalism with regards to the immigrant population. I will not explore the
question of national minorities, as I do not consider totally suitable to transfer and apply
this differentiated category to the Argentinean context, where it can be overlapped with
immigrant communities established in the country as well. Concerning indigenous
populations, even if I acknowledge that their situation would deserve an analysis in
itself, I strongly believe that this would exceed the purposes of the present paper.
Nevertheless, it should be noted that whenever the indigenous factor is intertwined with
the immigrant one, some interesting and particular dynamics may take place in the
Argentinean experience of multiculturalism.
As previously anticipated, the subject of multiculturalism has been increasingly debated
within academia in the last decades, but mainly since the adoption of the new migration
act (Law No. 25,871) in 2003. This normative can be considered innovative if
contrasted with those in force in most developed countries: as Bonilla affirms, it is the
first legal document both at the local and at the international level that explicitly
recognizes migration as a human right (2008a:774) and, I would add, migrants as rights-

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

bearers. Yet, in Domenechs analysis, although the model of society that lies beneath
this law is a multicultural and inclusive one, where the rights of newcomers are
respected while their cultural contribution is esteemed, this model is not exempt of
contradictions and ambiguities (2007:8-9).
Therefore, for this paper I will examine the text of the new migration law and other
relevant legislation in their reference either literal or through other terminology to
multiculturalism. Through secondary sources review and the examination of online
official documents and websites, I will also explore if any multicultural policies
addressed to the immigrant population have been set up, contrasting this to the current
official discourse in favour of multiculturalism and cultural pluralism. The research
undertaken by local scholars will also provide me an interesting material to analyze how
the country lives migration and diversity in daily life.
Among the academics who have extensively worked on the subject of multiculturalism
in the country, focusing especially on its link with migration, I should highlight:
Domenech (2003; 2005; 2007), who examines from a critic point of view contemporary
discourses on cultural diversity, while pointing out the maintenance of assimilationist
assumptions; and Bonilla (2008a; 2008b), who favours an intercultural perspective and
supports the notion of emerging intercultural citizenships as a basis for policy
development. From their part, Soria (2009) explored the current changes towards a
multi/intercultural perspective within policies and discourses, while Montesinos (2005)
analyzed the complexities of the relation between migrants and the Argentinean state
and society in the historical approach to socio-cultural diversity. Finally, more specific
works were developed by authors such as Courtis (2010) and Caggiano (2005), which I
nevertheless consider rich in their assumptions as well as in the conclusions they arrive
at. The former studied Argentina as a migratory context from an ethno-linguistic look,
and the latter contrasted the applicability of the idea of crisol de razas to the actual
situation of migrants from neighbour countries.
Finally, I should acknowledge that the scholarship production on the subject under
analysis is even richer than the above-mentioned, but I deem that taking into account the
whole of it would somehow exceed the possibilities of the present paper. The abovementioned scholars are all from the region and come from humanistic and social
disciplines such as sociology, political science, anthropology and educational sciences.

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

This choice was motivated basically by two factors: firstly, I tried to examine the
relation between multiculturalism and immigration in the country from (as much as
possible) a local context perspective; and secondly, while conducting a preliminary
literature review and contacting some researchers for guidance on the issue, I faced a
sort of snowball effect through which I came to discover the relevant amount and
quality of work that is being carried out.

3.

Argentinean institutional frame and political discourse on migration and


multiculturalism

Since the beginning of the 90s, the Argentinean state policies and discourse anticipated
some cultural pluralism elements. In particular, the Constitutional Reform of 1994
established the recognition (and historical reparation) of the rights of indigenous
peoples. Within the educational sphere, the multicultural, multiethnic and multilingual
condition of the country was recognized in the Resolution 107/99 of the Ministry of
Education and later the 2006 Law of National Education, although the focus was put
only on the indigenous peoples with no further reference to the immigrant population 1.
For Domenech and Magliano, this implied in some way the recognition of those who
still were Argentinean nationals and the exclusion of foreigners, who, apart from putting
into question the idea of cultural unity, could potentially jeopardize the notion of
national unity (2008:438).
As previously mentioned, with the turn of the new century, the introduction in
Argentina of new norms and regulations based in a human rights perspective have
started to revert the past situation of stigmatization and lack of recognition that used to
affect part of the immigrant population (Pacecca and Courtis, 2008:8). Domenech and
Magliano explain that, historically, the discourses and policies of migrant exclusion and
inclusion were developed through two main perspectives: migrants either as a
contribution or as a problem or threat, drawing a line between those considered
desirable or admissible for entering and being part of the country and those who were
not

(2008:427).

In

Sorias

view,

the

current

use

of

concepts

such

as

For further details, please refer to the text of Law No. 26,206, especially its Chapter XI: Bilingual
Intercultural Education (pp. 11-12).

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

multi/interculturalism, integration, diversity, respect, etc. in the outline of policies has


supposed the passage from the perception of cultural differences as a problem to one
that sees them as a contribution (2009:103).
In contraposition to the previous legal framework that during the last military and
liberal governments restricted immigration2, the new Migration Law No. 25,871,
sanctioned in 2003 and promulgated in 2004, enshrines in its fourth article the right to
migrate, not just as given and guaranteed by the state, but mainly as a fundamental
human right. According to Bonilla, this right is constituted by three main ones: to live in
dignity in the country of origin, to move in dignity around the world, and to settle and
live in dignity in a foreign country (2008a:775).
The new law not only recognizes migrants as rights-bearers and introduces the notion of
communitarian citizen, but also includes the recognition of social, political, economic
and cultural rights of immigrants, establishing a series of actions that facilitate their
admission, entrance, permanence, as well as their access to basic social services such as
health, education, labour, social security and justice (Domenech and Magliano,
2008:433). Particularly in what concerns education, it tries to banish certain practices of
exclusion that had been legitimized in the previous normative, guaranteeing egalitarian
access to migrants and their families in the same conditions that nationals and
establishing that irregularity will not impede in any case access to an educational
institution (Law No. 25,871, Arts. 6 and 7).
In spite of these advancements, Domenech and Magliano point out that some elements
of the new law reveal that, while the discourse has some multicultural/pluralist features,
the practical possibilities for their realization are limited, as they are perceived as
potentially affecting social cohesion and national unity (2008:434). This means that the
alleged progress in terms of migrants political and cultural insertion to the host society
may not necessarily imply leaving behind assimilationist assumptions and practices. For
example, the model of integration that is proposed in the norm is only addressed to
immigrants with permanent residence (Art. 3), which may imply that only those who
opt to become part of the nation are deemed able to integrate, while those who are
temporarily in the country are tacitly excluded.

I am referring to the General Law of Migration and Fostering of Immigration (Law No. 22,439), also
known as Videla Law, which was established in 1981 during the last military government.

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

Besides, the authors suggest that the model of integration only includes a partial range
of practices, which are embedded in the cultural comprehension perspective, while
multicultural practices are limited to what is not deemed to put any element of the
Argentinean nation into risk (2008:435). This contradiction is expressed in the fact that
national identity is defined in exclusive terms: immigrants are obliged by the law to
respect the cultural identity of Argentineans (Art. 125).
This way, the measures do not go beyond the liberal approach on tolerance, cultural
comprehension and respect of diversity, being far from the critical multiculturalism one.
In the educational sphere, the teaching of only Spanish language to immigrants in
schools and foreign institutions (Art. 14) can lead us to infer that the integration strategy
is still rooted in a monocultural or assimilationist model. Furthermore, the requirement
of linguistic skills for accessing rights, which is expressed in rules that have not been
harmonized yet with the legislation in force, usually puts the non-Spanish speaking
immigrants in disadvantage3 (Courtis, 2010:11-2).
With the sanction of the Migration Law, the recurring idea of a new migratory
paradigm started to appear in political discourses. Soria observes that this law was
described as part of a new perspective on cooperation and solidarity, in line with an
international context characterized by globalization and regional integration processes,
which replaced that of conflict and control that had prevailed during the military
dictatorship and previous democratic periods (2009:120). The author smartly points out
that what is not mentioned in the discourse is that this perspective is sustained in a
naturalized and invisibilized hierarchical order between the us and the others. This
hierarchy is manifested in the unequal definition of who the others are, in which
categories they are to be placed, and under which parameters and criteria their
integration should take place (2009:125).
Nowadays, in Domenech and Maglianos view, the public discourse would be closer to
a pluralist multiculturalism, which allows the combination of cultural recognition
with assimilationist practices. They state that recent multicultural integration strategies
do not actually constitute an alternative to monocultural integration. Firstly, they resort
to an essentialist multiculturalism in which cultures are represented as static and
differences are portrayed as folkloric or exotic, not only by locals but also by
3

Nonetheless, the author points out that, for accessing rights, the situations where Spanish competences
are mandatory in practice while not in the norm are even more widespread.

10

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

immigrants themselves and their descendants (2008:444). Through examining the


National Directorate of Immigration websites section on Communities4, it can be
noticed that it also refers to cultural diversity in this folkloric way, while there is no
reference to actual multicultural policies.
Secondly, not only the approach does not contribute to any modification in the existing
relations of power and domination, but, on the contrary, it can potentially allow the
concealment and reproduction of mechanisms of social and cultural degradation,
marginalization and exclusion. From its part, Kymlicka discussed similar critics to this
so-called celebratory or 3S model of ethno-cultural diversity, in which
multiculturalism takes familiar cultural markers of ethnic group clothing, cuisine, and
music and treats them as authentic practices to be preserved by their members and
safely consumed by others (2012:4).
In spite of the recognition of cultural diversity at the normative level, in the political
discourse and to a limited extent in the delineation of policies, the 2010 Regulation of
the Migration Law did not make any specification towards the setting up of
multicultural policies, but rather focused on aspects related to regulating the entrance,
stay and exit of migrants. Yet, a step forward can be found in the Ministry of Social
Development websites section on migrants. It expressly depicts the country as based in
a diverse and rich identity, where rights are been restored and real opportunities of
inclusion are being created5. Nevertheless, the reference to policies for migrants is
actually limited to what concerns their access to some rights, and is still framed in
Sorias terms within a strategy of visibilization of differences, while a legitimization
of the otherness that comprises its contradictions and particular way of being others in
relation to the us remains eluded (2009:132).

4.

Contemporary Argentinean context: a crisol de razas?

Among the three different forms of cultural diversity in modern society considered by
Parekh (subcultural, perspectival and communal), he defines a multicultural society as
one that includes two or more cultural communities (Parekh, 2000:3-4). In his
4
5

Please, refer to the DNMs website: http://www.migraciones.gov.ar/accesible/?colectividades


Please, refer to the Ministrys website: http://www.desarrollosocial.gob.ar/migrantes/1455

11

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

analysis, the society may either welcome and value its cultural diversity, making it
fundamental for its self-understanding, and respecting the cultural demands of its
communities; or seek to assimilate them into its mainstream culture. In both cases the
society is multicultural, but in the first case it is multiculturalist and in the second
monoculturalist in its orientation and ethos. [...] The term multicultural refers to the
fact of cultural diversity, the term multiculturalism to a normative response to the
fact. (Parekh, 2000:6) Following this line of thought, the Argentinean context can be
defined as one of factual multiculturalism, even if this condition can be acknowledged
in almost every contemporary society (Bonilla, 2008:773).
Montesinos points out that, within the socially and culturally diverse Argentinean
context, immigrants have played a key role since the beginnings of the nation-building
process, and especially in the formation of one particular (hegemonic) type of national
identity. This identity was materialized in the idea of the country as a crisol de razas
(equivalent in English to the melting pot6), which consisted in a mythical construction
aimed at the cohesion of groups with diverse origins, who had to blend together as a
requisite to be part of the nation7 (2005:46-7). This way, the inclusion of immigrants to
the Argentinean society was historically based in an assimilationist approach, which
tended to suppress their cultural identities.
Since the foundational period of the Argentinean nation, the state became, in Courtis
terms, an efficient machine to level differences: any ethnically labelled person, either
due to belonging to a defeated ethnicity (indigenous and African peoples) or to an
immigrant group, was pushed to leave his/her identity behind in order to be able to exert
full citizenship. Various mechanisms of cultural vigilance were activated, in which
the educational institutions, the public health system and the military service were key
for the homogenization project (2010:1).
Bonilla specifies that there are three modes in which diversity and pluralism have been
thought and addressed in contemporary nation-states: the mirror, the melting pot
and the mosaic. The three of them configure the modes of inclusion and exclusion
from citizenship and define who are accepted as political and social subjects, along with

The American melting pot model had a great influence in the first Argentinean political generations,
who elaborated the National Constitution of 1853/60, and later in the Generation of the 80s, who
promoted European immigration in the late 19 th century. (Bonilla, 2008b:31)
7
The translation of the citation is of my authorship.

12

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

those who are to remain subordinated and excluded, or against whom the state should
exert its sovereignty8 (Bonilla, 2008b:29-30).
Among the successive immigration flows to Argentina, the European one tended to be
favoured above other origins, which had a correlate in the perception of who deserved
to be considered as part of the crisol de razas. Therefore, this myth, instead of
representing the blend of all the possible origins, only considered as eligible the
contribution and integration of Europeans to the building of the nation (Soria,
2009:109-10). In Bonillas view, the metaphor has proved to be untruthful due to
discriminatory practices and to the recent presence of immigrant groups who exert their
social and political agency in unpredictable ways (2008a:774). Specifically, internal and
Latin American migrants, given the implicit association of their physical characteristics
to indigenous or Afro-American peoples within the collective imaginary, have not been
included in the crisol de razas metaphor (Bonilla, 2008b:30-1). Additionally,
Caggiano affirms that this selective openness also manifests in the way in which social
interactions are conceived and take place, and ties between excluded groups and
individuals are understood (2005:18).
In contrast to the former desired immigrants arrived in the late 19th century and the
early 20th one, foreigners in the last decades have come mainly from neighbour (Bolivia,
Paraguay and Peru) or Asiatic countries (Korea, China)9. During the 90s, along with the
general increase of unemployment and social fragmentation, the presence of these
immigrants was overstated not only by the official discourse but also in the media and
public opinion. They were put in the role of scapegoats and stigmatized as the other,
equated to invader, criminal, illegal, undocumented, usurpers of work,
among other labels (Montesinos, 2005:57).
Still nowadays, there persists a socially internalized and shared stratification which
places former European immigrants upper in an imaginary scale, in the middle of which
exotic Orientals are placed, while Latin Americans are mistreated and placed in the
lowest part10 (Montesinos, 2005:58-9). Through a process of othering11 that has

Idem.
A new migration trend that can be observed in the last years is the arrival of migrants and asylumseekers from African countries. I will refer to it in my upcoming paper for the module on African
perspectives (MM22-3).
10
I found an example of this socially internalized segregation in a case cited in one of the main
Argentinean newspapers: while visiting a school with a high proportion of immigrant students, a
9

13

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

elements of culturism and essentialism, the non-desired immigrants are constructed as


distant from the us, their subordination is reinforced, and their own definition of an
us in their daily (re)production is concealed. These current processes of othering are
part of what Montesinos describes as the history of denied discrimination in
Argentina. In her analysis, it is in this equation where actually resides its power for
constructing a specific worldview12 (2005:64).

5.

Conclusions

Through the review of the current scholarly production on the issue of diversity and
migration in my country of origin, while taking into account the conceptualizations on
multiculturalism and related terms elaborated by Parekh, it can be affirmed that, as in
the case of most contemporary societies, the Argentinean one can be considered
multicultural from a factual point of view. Conversely, the matter of the extent to which
it can be deemed multiculturalist instead of monoculturalist is still arguable and can
open the space for different levels of analysis. In my view, and as I came to notice
during the elaboration of the present paper, the examination of the political and
institutional spheres should not be separated to the one of the social processes that the
country has been experiencing in the last decades, nor if we look at its history since the
period of the nation-state foundation.
The past and the present of Argentina are closely intertwined and marked by the mix of
different nationalities and cultures, whose composition kept changing throughout the
decades. As previously mentioned, the cultural reality of the second half of the 20th
century differs in various aspects from that of the late 19th century. In those days, there
was a determined political project for building the Argentinean nation, which
encouraged European immigration while excluded other groups of the population, such
as the indigenous peoples. During the second half of the last century, in parallel with the
decrease of European immigration, that of Latin American origin increased its
philosopher and civil servant noticed that pupils spontaneously distributed their seats rows in the
classroom according to their condition of either blond or dark-skinned, which are the local terms for
designing white and non-white (De Masi, 2011).
11
For referring to othering I take the conceptualization elaborated by Holliday et al. (2010:23-7).
12
The translation of the citation is of my authorship.

14

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

significance. In addition, by the end of the century Asiatic immigration started to


acquire some relevance, and I would add that in the last decade, the arrival of African
immigration is a new trend that remains to be studied in more depth. In all these
historical processes, the way in which immigration was depicted was, in Cohens terms,
neither nave nor careless13 (2009:32).
It is still to be seen if the turn in the political discourse that has taken place mostly since
the sanction of the new Migration Law, and followed to some extent by the media,
would have an equivalent in the daily life of immigrants residing in the country. The
visibility that these days tends to be given to cultural diversity risks to conceal and
maintain old and new forms of inequality and exclusion, by means of an over
visibilization of differences linked to an essentialist multiculturalism approach
(Domenech and Magliano, 2008:445). Although the rhetorical changes can be
considered highly positive, as long as the structural causes of social inequality are not
addressed, the exclusion that many immigrants face and share with impoverished
sectors of the population will remain unchanged.
Throughout the different texts, norms and official websites examined, it is possible to
state that, up to the moment, there has not been a thorough work at the Argentinean
state level towards the outlining of multiculturalism policies for the immigrant
population, whereas forward steps are being taken to develop policies that aim at
recognizing the for so long relegated indigenous peoples. Even if the predominant
political discourse welcomes cultural diversity, the implementation of state policies is
still widely based in assimilationist assumptions. Domenech calls this type of
multiculturalism the new ideology of assimilation, as the structure of power that
(re)produces the material and symbolic conditions of domination and social exclusion
remains unchanged (2007:13). Thus, it could be affirmed that the Argentinean society
has somehow adopted an ambiguous position in the multiculturalistmonoculturalist
dichotomy, as defined by Parekh (2000:6).
In the particular Argentinean context, I would argue that the adoption of
multiculturalism policies for immigrants needs to be accompanied by public policies in
other related areas, within in a framework of inter-ministerial cooperation for their joint
development and implementation. At a macro level, those policies should be embedded
13

The translation of the citation is of my authorship.

15

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

in a model that addresses social, political and cultural inequalities, instead of merely
accepting the existing order as unquestionable. Working towards such a model would
imply actions such as: the thorough search of gaps in legislation, the opening to debate
of those norms and practices where inequalities are (re)produced, and the proposal of
paths for harmonization (Courtis, 2010:17).
Recalling what Soria maintains, a strategy for legitimization that replaces the one of
visibilization would allow us to approach multiculturality as a field of dispute, which
means a space to be constructed where other forms of existence can find their own
possibility of being14 (2009:132). This would make possible what Bonilla calls, from
her intercultural philosophy perspective that can be considered closer to the critical
multiculturalism one, a polylogue among cultures (2008b:37). Here, immigrants
would be able to become interpreters of themselves (the others), as well as of the
us, not being just objects of the discourse anymore but fully dialoguing subjects. An
approach like the above-suggested would be more in line with and embrace the vision
according to which, in the end, people are the same only in the way that they differ
from each other. (Luki Hacins, 2007:167)

14

The translation of the citation is of my authorship.

16

Ms. Mara Paula Subia

6.

Bibliography

Banting, Keith and Kymlicka, Will, eds. (2006). Multiculturalism and the Welfare
State: Recognition and redistribution in contemporary democracies. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, pp. 1-92.

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