Professor Elizabeth Rata

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Ethnic Fundamentalism in New Zealand

I describe ethnic fundamentalism or culturalism as a ‘secular religion’ because this particular way of understanding what ethnicity means shares a number of important features with religion. First, it is a set of beliefs about human nature. Second, those beliefs are unchallenged and unchallengeable. Third, ethnic fundamentalism rejects doubt and has a difficult relationship with reason (despite Benedict’s recent speech).