Culture and Equality
In political contexts, equality is both a superlative value and a hotly contested one. Even as just a multicultural value, equality is ambiguous. It has two relevant meanings (cultural relativism and equity egalitarianism) that differ substantially from the classic liberal (economic and political opportunities) and socialist (economic outcomes) conceptions of equality. Brian Barry's well-known attack on multiculturalism in the name of modern liberal egalitarianism (his Rawlsian synthesis of equality of opportunity and equality of outcomes) is explained in order to clarify, by contrast, the distinctive meaning that equality has acquired in connection with multiculturalism. The chapter concludes with the suggestion that the rival contemporary conceptions of equality may be rooted in different ways of understanding another superlative modern value, namely, freedom.