Multiculturalism and the Fetishism of Difference.

  • Colin Mooers Ryerson University


This paper charts the internal mediations between the duality of human labour under capitalism, the way in which capitalism embodies its ‘others’ through ideologies of race and gender, and the fetishistic forms of ‘difference’ expressed in liberal notions of multicultural citizenship. Such an immanent critique helps to explain one of the central paradoxes of ‘diversity’: how in the very process of recognizing ethnic and cultural differences, multiculturalism also occludes and distorts capitalism’s concrete social relations. The fetishistic ideology of multicultural citizenship should be understood as a ‘compromise formation’ which both distorts social relations and gestures toward an emancipatory potential beyond itself.