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When Ways of Life Collide:
Multiculturalism and Its Discontents in the Netherlands
Paul M. Sniderman & Louk Hagendoorn

Winner of the 2008 Robert E. Lane Award, Political Psychology Section of the American Political Science Association

Paperback | 2009 | $27.95 | £22.95 | ISBN: 9780691141015
176 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 15 line illus. 19 tables.
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In 2004, Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh was brutally murdered on a busy Amsterdam street. His killer was Mohammed Bouyeri, a twenty-six-year-old Dutch Moroccan offended by van Gogh's controversial film about Muslim suppression of women. The Dutch government had funded separate schools, housing projects, broadcast media, and community organizations for Muslim immigrants, all under the umbrella of multiculturalism. But the reality of terrorism and radicalization of Muslim immigrants has shattered that dream.

In this arresting book, Paul Sniderman and Louk Hagendoorn demonstrate that there are deep conflicts of values in the Netherlands. In the eyes of the Dutch, for example, Muslims oppress women, treating them as inferior to men. In the eyes of Muslim immigrants, Western Europeans deny women the respect they deserve. Western Europe has become a cultural conflict zone. Two ways of life are colliding.

Sniderman and Hagendoorn show how identity politics contributed to this crisis. The very policies meant to persuade majority and minority that they are part of the same society strengthened their view that they belong to different societies. At the deepest level, the authors' findings suggest, the issue that government and citizens need to be concerned about is not a conflict of values but a clash of fundamental loyalties.


"The authors of When Ways of Life Collide deem the Dutch multicultural experiment to be a grand and unequivocal failure. In their view, multiculturalism and liberal democracy are fundamentally incompatible. Their argument is a relatively simple one: By encouraging 'difference' among ethnic subgroups, multiculturalism ends up turning these groups into targets of resentment and thereby insuring their rejection by the majority culture."--Richard Wolin, The Nation

"Sniderman and Hagendoorn expertly describe how, beginning in the 1980s, elite politicians and academics in the Netherlands advocated for an extreme form of accommodation for Dutch immigrants."--T.D. Boswell, Choice

"When Ways of Life Collide is a provocative, yet empirical assessment of intrinsic, yet nebulous multiculturalism in today's society."--David Marx, David

"When Ways of Life Collide is a clever book that offers insight into the attitudinal mechanics of prejudice. These are important issues with high political salience that should interest students of the Netherlands and many other countries around the world."--Rahsaan Maxwell, Review of Middle East Studies

"This thought-provoking book provides many interesting insights into the relationships between a culture's values, prejudice, perceived cultural and economic threats, and exclusionary reactions against immigrants, derived from the analysis of a skillfully designed survey. It is relevant to a wide audience concerned with attitudes towards immigrant minorities, immigration, and multiculturalism, as well as to those interested in innovations in survey design."--Eline A. de Rooij, European Sociological Review


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Table of Contents:

List of Figures and Tables ix
Preface xi
CHAPTER ONE: Introduction 1
CHAPTER TWO: Muslims 17
CHAPTER THREE: Prejudice 43
CHAPTER FOUR: Identity 71
CHAPTER FIVE: Top-Down Politics 100
CHAPTER SIX: Tolerance 123
A Note about the Data 139
Bibliography 141

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