What is multiculturalism and what are the different theories used to justify it? Are multicultural policies a threat to liberty and equality? Can liberal democracies accommodate minority groups without sacrificing peace and stability? In this clear introduction to the subject, Michael Murphy explores these questions and critically assesses multiculturalism from the standpoint of political philosophy and political practice. The book explores the origins and contemporary usage of the concept of multiculturalism in the context of debates about citizenship, egalitarian justice and conflicts between individual and collective rights. The ideas of some of the most influential champions and critics of multiculturalism, including Will Kymlicka, Chandran Kukathas, Susan Okin and Brian Barry, are also clearly explained and evaluated. Key themes include the tension between multiculturalism and gender equality, cultural relativism and the limits of liberal toleration, and the impact of multicultural policies on social cohesion ethnic conflict. Murphy also surveys the legal practices and policies enacted to accommodate multiculturalism, drawing on examples from the Americas, Australasia, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Multiculturalism: A Critical Introduction is an ideal starting point for anyone coming to the topic for the first time as well as those already familiar with some of the key issues.