LSE KEPF 2015 – Chimera or Reality


KEPF 2015 was held on the 30th January, 2015. Below is the full agenda. To view the full speaker profile, please scroll down to the bottom of this page.

Timonthy Lim Annual Lecture Poster

KEPF 2015 was held as an annual lecture as we were reorganising the forum from its fundamental. Further, there KEPF was held in February instead of its initial November opening to maximise attendee.

14:00  Opening Speech by the President of LSESU KEPF
14:05  Annual Lecture given by Professor Timothy Lim
15:00  Practical Insight from a British Politician by Minsoo Kim
15:10  Q&A Session
15:45  Closing Speech

Is the multicultural state a doomed project in South Korea and Japan or can multiculturalism thrive in what have been two of the world’s most ‘homogeneous” nation-state?

In the eyes of many observers, the answer is clear: multiculturalism in both countries is doomed. Their reasoning is equally clear, namely, to the extent that multiculturalism exists, it is little more than a state-dominated effort to efficiently control and manage increasing ethnic diversity, primarily to serve the ‘developmental’ needs of the country. It is not, nor will it ever be, a policy of inclusion leading to the development of a genuine multicultural state—that is, a state in which the rights of minority or subordinated ethnic groups are meaningfully incorporated into the institutions of the state, and in which those groups, especially immigrants, can acquire citizenship or basic rights as permanent residents (among other factors).

Professor Timothy Lim’s argument, which applies a constructivist approach, challenges the ‘conventional wisdom.’ He argues in part that the mere emergence of a multicultural discourse, even in a very constrained form, is itself an important, albeit not all-important change. It is important because it has introduced a new cultural logic into both societies, one that problematizes the still-dominant—but no longer exclusive—discourse built around racial and ethnic purity. At the same time, his analysis recognises the importance of agency and of particular institutional and socio-political contexts.


Timothy Lim

Timothy Lim

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Professor of political science at California State University