Gérard Bouchard, L’Interculturalisme: Un point de vie québécois. Montreal: Boréal, 2012. 286 pages.
A review by Pierre Joncas
According to Quebec historian-sociologist Gérard Bouchard, interculturalism and multiculturalism are fundamentally different. Multiculturalism ascribes equal merit to all cultures and value systems, and denies special status regardless of size or seniority. Interculturalism acknowledges that, while all cultures are entitled to consideration and respect, size and seniority must be taken into account.
In L’Interculturalisme: Un point de vie québécois, Bouchard argues that interculturalism fosters concord specifically in those Western liberal nations which, since the middle of the 20th century, have experienced large-scale immigration from countries rooted in non-Western religious and other beliefs. Under interculturalism, according to Bouchard, cultures interact to their mutual enrichment and give birth to a transcending common culture. By mere force of numbers, the majority contributes most to shaping the new, common culture. Interaction, he says, doesn’t suppress minority cultures; rather, it promotes common ground where disagreements can be smoothed and contentious issues resolved.
In Quebec, which is Bouchard’s main concern, the common culture
Through the common culture, he claims, interculturalism integrates minorities; it doesn’t assimilate them. Bouchard argues that it is false