Dominant culture

Dominant culture

The dominant culture in a society refers to the established language, religion, behavior, values, rituals, and social customs. These traits are often the norm for the society as a whole. The dominant culture is usually but not always in the majority and achieves its dominance by controlling social institutions such as communication, educational institutions, artistic expression, law, political process, and business. The concept is generally used in academic discourse in fields such as sociology, anthropology and cultural studies.[1] In a multicultural society, various cultures are celebrated and respected equally. Dominant culture can be promoted with deliberation and by the suppression of other cultures or subcultures.


Examples and applications

Native American studies

In the United States, a distinction is often made between the indigenous culture of Native Americans, and a dominant culture that may be described as "Anglo", "white", "middle class", and so on. Some Native Americans are seen as being part of the culture of their own tribe, community, or family, while simultaneously participating in the dominant culture of America as a whole.[2]

Other American groups

Ethnic groups are said to exist in the United States in relation to a dominant culture, generally seen as English-speaking, of European ancestry, and Protestant Christian faith. Asian Americans,[3] Jews,[4][5] African Americans,[6] Latinos,[7] and deaf people,[8][9] among others, are seen as facing a choice to oppose, be opposed by, assimilate into, acculturate (i.e. exist alongside), or otherwise react to the dominant culture.


  1. ^ Gordon Marshall (1998). A Dictionary of Sociology. Oxford University Press. 
  2. ^ Maria Falkenhagen and Inga K. Kelly (May, 1974). "The Native American in Juvenile Fiction: Teacher Perception of Stereotypes". Journal of American Indian Education 13 (2). 
  3. ^ Lisa Lowe (1996). Immigrant Acts: On Asian American Cultural Politics. Duke University Press. ISBN 9780822318644. 
  4. ^ Lisa Lowe (review of book by Rabbi Meir David Kahane} (2004-02-10). the Jewish Eye. 
  5. ^ Shlomo Sharan (April, 2004). "Assimilation, Normalcy and Jewish Self-Hatred". NATIV Online. 
  6. ^ Patricia S. Parker (August 2001). "African American Women Executives' Leadership Communication within Dominant-Culture Organizations: (Re)Conceptualizing Notions of Collaboration and Instrumentality". Management Communication Quarterly 15 (1). 
  7. ^ Penelope Bass (2009-01-29). "Culture and Controversy:The ‘Otra Voz’ exhibit aims to create conversation". 
  8. ^ Joan B. Stone, (1998). Ila Parasnis. ed. Cultural and Language Diversity and the Deaf Experience. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521645652. 
  9. ^ Carla A. Halpern (1995). "Listening In on Deaf Culture". Diversity and Distinction (Harvard University). 

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