For three decades multiculturalism has been the focus of fierce debates. At the same time Europeans have worried, at the national level and at that of the European Union, about how to relate to a world in which their influence has been steadily reducing. But the two discussions, on society and on foreign policy, have rarely intersected. The events of 11 September 2001 did shock the citizens of Western countries into an awareness that international politics could literally explode onto their home streets, and generated fear and suspicion about and among minority groups. But the excessive focus on terrorism and on Islam which followed hardly did justice to the deeper processes of transnationally induced change which were at work. This book attempts to go beyond the emotive political debate to show how foreign policy and domestic society have been becoming more entangled with each other for some time. It focuses on the more established Member States of the European Union and the varying paths which they have taken in coping with the new domestic environment fostered by increased migration, ethnocultural diversity, and transnational relations.
It investigates the contrasting approaches taken by the European states to what is loosely called 'multiculturalism', and analyses their impact on the interplay between foreign policy and domestic society, something which is now a structural feature of political life. It concludes with the argument that since domestic society is now taking on some of the diversity associated with international relations, governments can no longer assume a national consensus in their relations with the outside world, let alone the steady homogenisation of world society.