Cultural Pluralism Benefits Social Cohesion
Contemporary American society has recently undergone numerous changes which were determined by globalization and immigration processes. These aspects have created an incredibly massive impact on the society and its cultural compounds. A characteristic feature of the modern world is that it is not limited to the intensive dialog between the cultures and their interaction within a country. This process can be described by such terms as diffusion, integration, convergence, assimilation, creative interaction, etc. These concepts contribute to the establishment of a stable and united society. It, however, goes closely with other, opposite processes, that aim at defining cultural identity, giving an emphasis on the uniqueness of cultures and the establishment of cultural autonomy. This is generally acknowledged to be a distinctive feature of contemporary cultural situation. An important term to be regarded within this frame is pluralism and its impact upon cultural development of the society. Thus, the aim of this paper is to investigate whether cultural pluralism is the way which leads to social cohesion and justness. The essay agrees with the position expressed by Fredrickson and provides a certain amount of proof of the statement.
The term cultural pluralism is generally referred to as a set of principles of cultural diversity, whereby every point of view and way of interpreting the world does not result in conflicts. Attitudes and opinions have the right to exist equivalent in the intention to understand the world and be adaptable to it. In other words, it is a global community in which separate cultural regions, different in many respects from one another, can form a united and common economic life. This concept is applied since it is believed that the use of modern technologies and free access to electronic banking information produces a solution to global problems.
Until recently, the concept of pluralism belonged to humanitarian thought and used to bear a negative rather than positive meaning. The prevailing tradition of Western culture tended to a monistic thought system, considering the variety of phenomena of the world in the light of the common beginning, the common basis for everything that exists. Western thought can be regarded as inherited from the Greek tradition.
Today, trends of cultural globalization are of particular relevance, provoking the search for theoretical strategies and practical solutions. The principle of pluralism is fundamental to the explanation of postmodern culture. If modernists’ perceptions were characterized as Eurocentric, then the focus of postmodernism is directed towards cultural pluralism in its numerous manifestations.
One of the most influential trends which lead to the development of cultural pluralism and its positive outcomes in the contemporary society is the development of the mass media. The active introduction of information and telecommunication technologies into everyday life expands and accelerates the process of internationalization disproportionately. These are not only economic and commercial, but also political and sociocultural relations. Television, the Internet, computers and other mediums allow a person, regardless of the geographic location, to gain access to social and cultural experience of other nations, to meet and study the traditions and customs of other cultures. Thus, forms of seeing and understanding the world are much more varied than it was in the recent past. Undoubtedly, such contact with other cultural traditions affects national and religious foundations of life, stimulates the erosion of traditions of local, ethnic, national origin, corrects the perception of cultural archetypes which every society is expected to be based on. This aspect contributes to the “just and cohesive society”.
The problem of interaction among cultures is inherent in all multicultural societies. Most emerging ethnic conflicts within the country (for instance, the USA) confirm the relevance of the problem of interaction between nations and cultures within the framework of multinational and multicultural state entities. For example, the confrontation of Ireland and England as parts of Great Britain, the Kurdish conflict in Turkey and Iraq, the conflict between the Basques and the Spanish, a chain of conflicts in the Balkans are the examples of intercultural conflicts, raising the question of how to achieve unity and cultural homogeneity within multinational and multicultural societies.
The problem of cross-cultural interactions is a constant topic of theoretical and humanitarian discussions of the researchers. The USA is known to be initially a polyethnic country which carries the tradition of American culture and gives a rise to the need for a reflexive understanding of the phenomenon in the American multicultural space.
One of the proofs of Fredrickson’s position is the change of outlooks which is being observed nowadays. With constant growth of the media, which has already been mentioned, people’s understanding of ethnic minorities, their lifestyle and culture is changing. The investigators of cultural pluralism both in local and global meanings state that it is necessary to promote and implement “equality of all cultures, civilizations, languages, and faiths, and about the mixing of all tribes, races, and peoples”. It means that these aspects have already lost their conflict nature and lead to society’s cohesion.
Cultural pluralism is not the basis for biases and prejudices anymore. Oppositely, it serves as a feature of uniqueness which is aimed at making the society just and understanding to its members. In addition to this, cultural pluralism contributed to the development of globalization, i.e. created a mixture of national beliefs, ethnic lifestyles, etc. This approach to the mixed traditions and cultures has led to society’s cohesion and justness.
In accordance with Cheryl, this process plays a more important role than it is generally believed. The fusion of cultures and traditions is a powerful tool of impact on the economic prosperity of the country. This assumption is determined by the fact that peaceful relations within a country tend to lead to reducing the expenses needed to maintain them. Furthermore, the process of mixing cultures results in appearance of the new kinds of business. This tendency is mainly applicable to the food and textile industry. The rate of income which is possible to be reached positively influences the country’s economy.
As a consequence, the main task of all local groups that integrate into the American nation is fulfillment of all requirements represented in the society: cultural, economic, political, educational, moral and psychological. Thus, ethno-political and cultural movement should go not in the direction of pointless political agitation, but enhance the basic skills of civilized, independent living, based on the model of the humane members of the American nation.
It is also necessary to mention that the nature of American cultural pluralism differs by its desire to embody both theory and practice. All governmental programs conducted within the framework of multicultural policies have a tendency to include social, economic, educational and cultural components. Cultural pluralism in American society is characterized by multi-dimensional and mutual understanding of cooperation between the parties aimed at their effective functioning. This is generally represented by the level of theoretical understanding, political and economic measures, the views on the existing cultural pluralism concepts and measures within the American society.
The rise of ethnic consciousness, focus on differences, desire for unions, avoidance of fragmentation of the American society on ethno-racial and ethno-cultural bases are the processes which are currently achieving dominance, displacing such components of cultural interaction as the intensive isolation process, absence of mutual penetration, enrichment and cultural exchange.
Due to the fact that the cultural life in a multicultural society is a much more reliable basis than ideology, cultural pluralism is regarded as a communication code referred to as the primacy of association which put the multitude into the coherent whole. One of the major objectives of the policy of cultural pluralism is the establishment and maintenance of social and cultural balance within the society. The means of achieving the balance proposed by the researchers consists in the spread of values that are generally valid for a multicultural environment: preservation of ethnic and cultural traditions, need for cross-cultural interactions, and active involvement of multicultural groups in all the processes within the society.
To sum up, the paper regarded the key reasons why cultural pluralism is necessary for society’s development and cohesion. The conducted research states that preservation of cultural pluralism is one of the priorities of both international organizations and separate countries. A balanced government policy can build and maintain an equal-status dialog within a multinational culture. During the process of integration into the global system of international relations, the matter of national security is an essential concern for modern countries. One of the most important aspects of state policy in the cultural and information fields has to consist in establishing the mechanism of control over the media in order to promote pluralism which will make its contribution to the development of society’s justness and cohesion. Finally, positive outcomes of cultural pluralism are the reasons why people celebrate their ethnic identity and work to obtain the same political rights as the native population. Personally, I do not generally regard my own ethnicity as a decisive factor in my lifestyle choices. I try to treat people in an equal way regardless of the culture or nation they belong to. This is one of the positive impacts of pluralism on my outlook as well as outlooks of other people.