Cultural pluralism

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.

One example is Lebanon where 18 different religious communities co-exist on a land of 10,452 km². In a pluralist culture, unique groups not only co-exist side by side, but also consider qualities of other groups as traits worth having in the dominant culture.

The current contemporary art world in the 21st century is an example of cultural pluralism, with a variety of styles existing side-by-side. For another example, a community center may offer classes in Indian yoga, Chinese calligraphy, and Latin salsa dancing. That community may also have one or more synagogues, mosques, mandirs, gurudwaras, and/or Buddhist temples, as well as several churches of various Christian denominations. This is an example based on the definition because the larger society approves of the co-existing societies within it. All sub cultures are for the most part accepted.

The existence of such institutions and practices are possible if the cultural communities responsible for them are protected by law and/or accepted by the larger society in a pluralist 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 William James and John Dewey, and later thinkers such as Horace Kallen and Randolph Bourne. One of the most famous articulations of cultural pluralistic ideas can be found in Bourne's 1916 essay "Trans-National America" .[1]


  1. ^ Science Encyclopedia Cultural Pluralism Retrieved on May 31, 2007

See also