Fuzzy Boundaries and a Shifting Balance

The boundaries between the two domains are permeable. For example, the child rearing that unquestionably falls in the private domain is subject to the child welfare laws of the public domain. In the United States and Canada, a parent is not free to discipline children by beating them.

Similarly, beliefs and practices of the private domain rise into the public domain with changing ideologies; for instance, same-sex marriage as a private practice is now entering the public arena in the form of gay marriage laws.

The point I am trying to drive home is that the boundaries between a uniform public domain and a diverse private domain are permeable. They shift as a part of social change and political development. The civic culture based on the values of equality, fairness, and democracy, and on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, is the bridge between the two domains.7

Ultimately, multiculturalism is not just a matter of the recognition of diverse communities living by their cultures in their private life, but a process of integrating their interests and shared values in the public sphere.

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