Ideas

A Seat at the Table: the future of a pluralist society

How do we go about building an equitable society, where the voices - and the values - of diverse communities are listened to and respected? What are the limits to social change that we're willing to entertain, and how do we work towards finding and establishing common social values? A Stratford Festival discussion.
Teacher Evelyn Bissonette, centre teaches refugee students from Syria, as they attend French classes at a school in Montreal. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

How do we go about building an equitable society, where the voices - and the values - of diverse communities are listened to and respected? What are the limits to social change that we're willing to entertain, and how do we work towards finding and establishing common social values?


These are all challenges facing the world today, where the ideal of pluralism is in retreat; in Canada we seem to have figured a few things out about how different cultures can co-exist, but there's still a long road ahead, and the future is uncertain. From the Stratford Festival, a discussion featuring journalist Nahlah Ayed, film-maker and writer Nelofer Pazira, and demographer Michael Adams.


Nelofer Pazira talking about the responsibility to go beyond good deeds- we also need to protest against evil in the world 1:06


 


"The bombing that is happening in the suburbs of Beirut has something to do with us, because as individuals living as part of a global world, we are responsible for everything that is happening around us." - Nelofer Pazira
 

At one time  societies were built around ideas of specialness -- that being French or German was somehow better than being British or Dutch. Nationalism -- and at its worst, ethnic nationalism -- pitted one nation, one group, against another in some kind of competition. Today however, our societies intermingle -- Laplanders marry Hungarians, Syrians move to Canada.

How do we find common ground in a pluralist society, where people of very different values and cultures are trying to live together. What do we have to agree on, and how do we govern ourselves?
 

This episode is one of a series recorded at the 2016 Stratford Festival.


**The episode was produced by Philip Coulter.

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