Cultural pluralism

Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and their values and practices are accepted by the wider culture provided they are consistent with the laws and values of the wider society. As a sociological term, the definition and description of cultural pluralism has evolved over time. It has been described as not only a fact but a societal goal.[1] Cultural pluralism is distinct from (though often confused with) multiculturalism. Multiculturalism lacks the requirement of a dominant culture. If the dominant culture is weakened, societies can easily pass from cultural pluralism into multiculturalism without any intentional steps being taken by that society. If communities function separately from each other, or compete with one another, they are not considered culturally pluralistic.[2]

Cultural pluralism can be practiced at varying degrees by a group or an individual.[3] A prominent example of pluralism is 20th Century United States, in which a dominant culture with strong elements of nationalism, a sporting culture, and an artistic culture contained also smaller groups with their own ethnic, religious, and cultural norms. In 1971, the Canadian government referred to cultural pluralism, as opposed to multiculturalism, as the "very essence" of their nation's identity[4]. In a pluralist culture, groups not only co-exist side by side, but also consider qualities of other groups as traits worth having in the dominant culture. Pluralistic societies place strong expectations of integration on members, rather than expectations of assimilation. The existence of such institutions and practices is possible if the cultural communities are accepted by the larger society in a pluralist culture and sometimes require the protection of the law. Often the acceptance of a culture may require that the new or minority culture remove some aspects of their culture which is incompatible with the laws or values of the dominant culture.

The idea of cultural pluralism in the United States has its roots in the transcendentalist movement and was developed by pragmatist philosophers such as Horace Kallen, William James and John Dewey, and later thinkers such as Randolph Bourne. One of the most famous articulations of cultural pluralistic ideas can be found in Bourne's 1916 essay "Trans-National America".[5] Philosopher Horace Kallen is widely credited as being the originator of the concept of cultural pluralism.[6][7][8] Kallen's 1915 essay in The Nation, Democracy versus the Melting Pot, was written as an argument against the concept of the "Americanization" of European immigrants.[9] He later coined the term cultural pluralism in 1924 when he published Culture and Democracy in the United States.[10] In 1976, the concept was further explored in Crawford Young's book The Politics of Cultural Pluralism. Young's work, in African studies, emphasizes the flexibility of the definition of cultural pluralism within a society.[11] More recent advocates include moral and cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder. In 1976, an article in the Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare offered a redefinition of cultural pluralism in which it is described as a social condition in which communities of different cultures live together and function in an open system.[2]


  1. ^ William R. Hazard and Madelon Stent, "Cultural Pluralism and Schooling: Some Preliminary Observations," Cultural Pluralism in Education: A Mandate for Change, eds. Madelon Stent, William R. Hazard and Harry N. Revlin (New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1973), p. 13.
  2. ^ a b Pantoja, Antonia; Perry, Wilhelmina; and Blourock, Barbara (1976) "Towards the Development of Theory: Cultural Pluralism Redefined," The Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare: Vol. 4: Iss. 1, Article 11. Available at:
  3. ^ Social and Cultural Pluralism as a Concept in Social System Analysis ;Marie R. Haug; Vol. 73, No. 3 (Nov., 1967), pp. 294-304; Published by: University of Chicago Press
  4. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Canada. Parliament. House of Commons. Debates, 28th Parliament, 3rd Session, Volume 8 (8 October 1971) ; Canadian Multicultural Policy 1971
  5. ^ Science Encyclopedia Cultural Pluralism Retrieved on May 31, 2007
  6. ^ Horace M. Kallen: Pluralism and American Jewish Identity William Toll Journal: American Jewish History Volume 85, Number 1, March 1997 pp. 57-74 | 10.1353/ajh.1997.0007
  7. ^ The Legacy of Horace M. Kallen , edited by Milton Ridvas Konvitz 1987 Associated University Presses, Inc. ISBN 0-8386-3291-2
  8. ^ Peggy R. Sanday , Anthropology and the Public Interest, Academic Press (New York) 1976 ISBN 0-12-617650-7
  9. ^ Horace Kallen, "Democracy Versus the Melting Pot," The Nation 100, no. 2590 (18-25 February 1915), 190-94, 217-220.
  10. ^ Kallen, Horace. Culture and Democracy in the United States (New York: Boni Liveright, 1924), pp. 126-129
  11. ^ The Politics of Cultural Pluralism; Young, Crawford; The University of Wisconsin Press, 1976.
Cultural astronomy

Cultural astronomy is the set of interdisciplinary fields studying the astronomical systems of current or ancient societies and cultures. Such areas include archaeoastronomy (the study of the use of astronomy and its role in ancient cultures and civilizations), ethnoastronomy (the study of the use of astronomy and its role in contemporary cultures), historical astronomy (analyzing historic astronomical data), history of astronomy (understanding and study and evolution of the discipline of astronomy over the course of human knowledge) and history of astrology (understanding the astrological roots of astronomy and understanding the differences between astrology and astronomy).

Cultural bias

Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to one's own culture. The phenomenon is sometimes considered a problem central to social and human sciences, such as economics, psychology, anthropology, and sociology. Some practitioners of the aforementioned fields have attempted to develop methods and theories to compensate for or eliminate cultural bias.

Cultural bias occurs when people of a culture make assumptions about conventions, including conventions of language, notation, proof and evidence. They are then accused of mistaking these assumptions for laws of logic or nature. Numerous such biases exist, concerning cultural norms for color, mate selection, concepts of justice, linguistic and logical validity, the acceptability of evidence, and taboos.

Cultural environmentalism

Cultural environmentalism is the movement that seeks to protect the public domain. The term was coined by James Boyle, professor at Duke University and contributor to the Financial Times.The term stems from Boyle's argument that those who seek to protect the public domain are working towards a similar ends as environmentalists. Boyle's contention is that whereas the environmentalist movement illuminated the effects that social decisions can have upon ecology, cultural environmentalists seek to illuminate the effects that intellectual property laws can have upon culture.

Cultural retention

Cultural retention is the act of retaining the culture of a specific ethnic group of people, especially when there is reason to believe that the culture, through inaction, may be lost. Many African-American, European and Asian organizations have cultural retention programs in place.

Edith Terry Bremer

Edith Bremer (1885–1964) was born in Hamilton N.Y. and graduated from the University of Chicago in 1907. She pioneered immigrant social service work and had a major influence on the institute movement. She founded and led the International Institute movement, which was focused on improving the lives of female immigrants. The International Institute was a movement for cultural pluralism with efforts towards protection of immigrant girls in 1910. She was a resident at the University Chicago settlement as well as a researcher for the Chicago Women's Trade Union League. She then became a special agent for the United States Immigration Commission and also worked as a field investigator for the Chicago Juvenile Court. These field works inspired her to focus on the problems of female immigrants. She believed that other immigrant social welfare agencies, both public and private, poorly served women.

Bremer strongly opposed Americanization programs and wrote that Americanization stimulated fear and hate. She then served as a special agent for the United States Immigration Commission. Bremer was concerned that the existing public and private agencies serving immigrants largely ignored women so she made her most important contribution by establishing the first International Institute in New York City as a YMCA experiment in December, 1910. As a national field secretary for the National Board of the YMCA in New York, she began to work with immigrant girls. This institute was focused on assisting newly arrived and second-generation immigrant girls and women. It provided recreational and club activities, English classes, and assistance with employment, housing, naturalization and other problems. Trained social workers who were mostly immigrants themselves were the ones who did the teaching, visiting, counseling and casework. She inspired institute workers to begin working with immigrant communities as a whole by engaging in traditional settlement house tasks and handling immigrant problems as case workers. Their ideas helped preserve the immigrant heritage. Bremer and other International Institute workers became activates of cultural pluralism by accepting immigrants on their own terms. They attempted to ease their transition to American Society. By the early 1920s, over 55 international institutes had been established mainly in industrial cities with heavier immigrant populations such as Boston, Buffalo, and Detroit. In the 1920s and early 1930s Edith helped organize new Institutes and made field visits to advise on programs as well as sponsor annual meetings of Institute workers. She later testified as an expert witness at congressional hearings on immigration policies.

Edmond Keller

Edmond Joseph Keller, Jr. (born August 22, 1942) is an American Africanist.

A graduate of Louisiana State University and the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Keller is a professor in the political science department at UCLA. He is the former Director of the Globalization Research Center-Africa and the James S. Coleman African Studies Center at UCLA. He has taught at Indiana University, Dartmouth College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Xavier University (New Orleans), and the University of California-Santa Barbara.Keller is the author of two monographs: Education, Manpower and Development: The Impact of Educational Policy in Kenya (1980) and Revolutionary Ethiopia: From Empire to People's Republic (1988). Professor Keller has also written more than 50 articles on African and African-American politics, and has co-edited seven books: Afro-Marxist Regimes: Ideology and Public Policy (with Donald Rothchild, 1987); South Africa in Southern Africa: Domestic Change and International Conflict (with Louis Picard, 1989), Africa in the New International Order: Rethinking State Sovereignty and Regional Security (with Donald Rothchild, 1996) and Africa-US Relations: Strategic Encounters (with Donald Rothchild, 2006). His most recent publications are HIV/AIDS in Africa: Challenges and Impact, co-edited with Edith Omwami and Stephen Commins (2008); Trustee for the Human Community: Ralph J. Bunche, the United Nations, and the Decolonization of Africa, edited with Robert Hill (2010); and Religion, Institutions and the Transition to Democracy in Africa, edited with Dr. Ruth Iyob (2012). Keller's main research is on issues of political transitions in Africa, cultural pluralism and nationalism, conflict and conflict management in Africa.In 2008, Keller was awarded the "Distinguished Africanist Award" by the African Studies Association.

Ethnic penalty

Ethnic penalty in sociology is defined as the economic and non-economic disadvantages that ethnic minorities experience in the labour market compared to other ethnic groups. As an area of study among behavioral economists, psychologists, and sociologists, it ranges beyond discrimination to take non-cognitive factors into consideration for explaining unwarranted differences between individuals of similar abilities but differing ethnicities.


Gerontophobia is the fear of growing old, or a hatred or fear of the elderly. The term comes from the Greek γέρων – gerōn, "old man" and φόβος – phobos, "fear".

Horace Kallen

Horace Meyer Kallen (August 11, 1882 – February 16, 1974) was a Polish-born American philosopher who supported pluralism and Zionism.

Housing discrimination

Housing discrimination is discrimination based on protected class status, variously including race, gender, religion, ethnicity, age, national origin, sexual orientation and gender identity, marital status, or veteran status, in the realm of housing and real estate.

Four types of housing discrimination are rental discrimination, sales discrimination, lending and mortgage discrimination and homeowners insurance.

John A. Murphy

John A. Murphy (born 17 January 1927) is an Irish historian and a former senator. He is currently Emeritus Professor of history at University College Cork (UCC).Murphy was born in Macroom, County Cork, and has said he was very bookish as a boy. He won a County Council scholarship in 1945 to study history at UCC, and graduated in 1948 with a first-class honours degree and first place in both History and Latin. He took an MA in Cork before taking up a teaching post at the diocesan seminary at Farranferris in Cork city.

In 1960 he became an assistant lecturer at UCC, and was appointed Professor of Irish History in 1971, holding that chair until his retirement in 1990. His 1975 book Ireland in the Twentieth Century was one of the first surveys of contemporary Irish history.From 1977 to 1982, and between 1987 and 1992, Murphy represented the National University of Ireland constituency as an independent member of Seanad Éireann. As a senator, he was noted for his advocacy of political and cultural pluralism. Earlier he had been a supporter of Noël Browne's Mother and Child Scheme.On 13 May 2015, in the run up to the Irish marriage equality referendum, he wrote to The Irish Times, describing the proposed constitutional amendment to permit same-sex marriage as "grotesque nonsense."

Melting pot

The melting pot is a monocultural metaphor for a heterogeneous society becoming more homogeneous, the different elements "melting together" with a common culture or vice versa, for a homogeneous society becoming more heterogeneous through the influx of foreign elements with different cultural backgrounds, possessing the potential to create disharmony within the previous culture. Historically, it is often used to describe the assimilation of immigrants to the United States. The melting-together metaphor was in use by the 1780s. The exact term "melting pot" came into general usage in the United States after it was used as a metaphor describing a fusion of nationalities, cultures and ethnicities in the 1908 play of the same name.

The desirability of assimilation and the melting pot model has been reconsidered by proponents of multiculturalism, who have suggested alternative metaphors to describe the current American society, such as a mosaic, salad bowl, or kaleidoscope, in which different cultures mix, but remain distinct in some aspects.

Merwin Crawford Young

Merwin Crawford Young (born November 7, 1931) is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Monique Deveaux

Monique Deveaux is a Canadian philosopher and Professor and Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Global Social Change at the University of Guelph. She is known for her research on poverty, cultural pluralism and global justice.

Morton Beiser

Morton Beiser, CM, MD, FRCP (born November 16, 1936) is a Canadian professor, psychiatrist and epidemiologist known for his research in the fields of immigration and resettlement.

He is Professor of Distinction at Ryerson University, Crombie Professor Emeritus of Cultural Pluralism and Health at the University of Toronto, Founding Director and Senior Scientist at the Ontario Metropolis Centre of Excellence for Research on Immigration and Settlement (CERIS), and a Member of the Order of Canada.

Praemium Erasmianum Foundation

The Praemium Erasmianum Foundation is a Dutch cultural institution that works in the humanities, the social science and the arts. It was founded in 1958 by Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld. The aim of the Foundation is to strengthen the position of the arts, the social sciences and the humanities. The Foundation is motivated by the ideas of Desiderius Erasmus, from whom it derives its name, and European cultural traditions. Humanistic values, such as tolerance, cultural pluralism and critical thinking, are reflected in the choice of the Erasmus Prize laureates and in the activities around the theme of the Prize.The Foundation's patron is King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. It is governed by a board with members representing the cultural, scholarly and business communities in the Netherlands. As of 2017 the Board consists of Ernst Hirsch Ballin (Chair), Jet de Ranitz (Vice-Chair), Tom de Swaan (Treasurer), Désanne van Brederode, Barnita Bagchi, Naomi Ellemers, Maria Grever, Bregtje van der Haak, Bas ter Haar Romeny, Fouad Laroui, Rick Lawson, Axel Rüger, Henk Scholten, Ed Spanjaard and Frank van Vree. As of 2015 the organisation has three staff members, and the director is Shanti van Dam. Funding for the Foundation originally came from the Dutch lottery and the Sport Totaliser, although it is now financially independent.The Foundation awards the Erasmus Prize, which is an annual prize that is awarded to individuals or institutions who have made exceptional contributions to culture, society, or social science in Europe and the rest of the world. The Foundation organizes a wide range of academic and cultural activities around the Erasmus Prize award ceremony, as well as an essay or publications based on the laureate and their work. The Foundation has also awarded annual Research Prizes since 1988. As of 2015 it awards up to five prizes of €3,000 each to PhD graduates who have written an outstanding thesis in the humanities and social sciences. The prizes are awarded by the Foundation's director at a ceremony that normally takes place in May.

Saïd Sadi

Saïd Sadi (Kabyle: Saεid Seεdi) (born 26 August 1947) is an Algerian politician who was President of the Rally for Culture and Democracy (RCD) until 2012.

Born at Aghribs, now in Tizi Ouzou Province, Sadi is a psychiatrist by profession. He was among the first Berber intellectuals who, from the early days of the country's independence in 1962, began to openly challenge by peaceful means the Algerian government policies of oppression and denial of the rights of the Berber population. He was jailed on several occasions for his political views.

Following the collapse of the one-party state in 1988, Sadi founded the RCD in 1989 on the basis of secularism and cultural pluralism; the party has found a niche as a Liberal party espousing Kabyle Berber grievances.

He was a candidate in the 1995 presidential election and received 9% of the vote. He boycotted the 1999 presidential election but participated in the 2004 presidential election, receiving 1.9% of the vote on that occasion.

Sadi announced on 15 January 2009 that the RCD would not participate in the April 2009 presidential election, which he described as a "pathetic and dangerous circus", saying that to participate "would be tantamount to complicity in an operation of national humiliation".On 9 March 2012 he officially resigned from the presidency of the RCD at a party congress. Mohcine Belabbes was elected as his replacement the following day, at the same congress.

William Safran

William Safran (born 1930) is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Colorado Boulder. It has been argued that Safran "has contributed substantially to the body of knowledge regarding ethnic politics, nationalism, and related subjects, such as institutional and cultural pluralism, citizenship, immigration, diaspora, national identity, and the politics of language and religion". He is a specialist on France, and much of his research concerns French ethnic politics.Safran was born in Dresden, Germany, to Romanian and Polish immigrant parents. In his youth under the Nazi regime in Germany, he spent a total of more than three years in a ghetto, forced-labour camp and concentration camp. After liberation, he spent four months in a United Nations displaced persons camp. He migrated to the United States in 1946 with the surviving members of his family. He subsequently gained a BA degree in history and an MA in international affairs from City College of New York, served for two years in the US army, and gained a PhD in public law and government from Columbia University, under the supervision of Otto Kirchheimer, in 1964. He was appointed to the post of assistant professor at the University of Colorado Boulder in 1965. He retired from a full professorship at the same institution in 2003.Safran was editor-in-chief of the journal Nationalism and Ethnic Politics from its founding in 1995 until 2010. He has also served as a series editor for the Routledge series on nationalism and ethnicity, and has chaired the International Political Science Association's Research Committee on Politics and Ethnicity and co-chaired its Research Committee on Language and Politics. He has held visiting professorships at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the universities of Nice, Grenoble, Bordeaux, and Santiago de Compostela.

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