A very informal and non-academic ramble on Lectures 1-4.
Douglas Rae opines that Sam Huntington got it about 60% correct; Edward Said (as that link shows) would not have agreed. Douglas Rae admits the “conflict of civilisations” theory as presented by Huntington is absurdly over-ambitious. The point is there is not as much determinism in this process as Huntington seemed to suggest. We can choose how we negotiate with it. That is itself a globalising process. We are in a shrinking world, like it or not, and we damned well have to learn how to get along. Tony Blair opines that religion matters simply because to the majority of people in the world religion actually matters. Again we can choose to work from the values the major religions share or we can allow bigotry, dogmatism and downright nostalgia to bring out the worst in our differences. Now Tony of course has much to answer for, but he is not a dill.
And if globalisation is not an IT but a SERIES OF INTERLOCKING PROCESSES driven by a technological revolution we are still getting used to, among other factors such as demographics, then so quite clearly multiculturalism is best thought of as concrete processes rather than as an IT.
Multiculturalism is the state of the world anyway. At the national level it is the interplay of homesickness and belonging, the accommodation of values and the marking out of identity, all that chemistry of the individual life that is not really new, just under greater pressure in Australia today. We can choose to be enriched by it or we can choose to defy it and become inward and stunted.
We can turn our backs on immigration and like Japan enter a post-Malthusian stage where death rates surpass birth rates and all our social security and infrastructure needs come under threat. We can be as pure as Robert Mugabe seems to want to be in Zimbabwe and experience, like him, the Zimbabwe spiral.
To understand the above go to Gapminder World.