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Multiculturalism is a term with a range of meanings in the contexts of , political philosophy, and in colloquial use. In sociology and everyday usage, it is a synonym for "ethnic pluralism" with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist, or a single country within which they do. Groups associated with an aboriginal ethnic group and foreigner ethnic groups are often the focus.

In reference to sociology, multiculturalism is the end state of either a natural or artificial process (e.g. legally controlled immigration) and occurs on either a large national scale or a smaller scale within a nation's communities. On a smaller scale this can occur artificially when a jurisdiction is created or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. and ). On a large scale, it can occur as a result of either legal or illegal immigration to and from different jurisdictions around the world.

Multiculturalism as a political philosophy involves ideologies and policies which vary widely,

(2011). 9780415593342, Taylor & Francis. .
ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to policies of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various and groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group to which they belong.

Multiculturalism that promotes maintaining the distinctiveness of multiple cultures is often contrasted to other settlement policies such as social integration, cultural assimilation and racial segregation. Multiculturalism has been described as a "salad bowl" and ""

(2018). 9780762729876, Globe Pequot Press. .
in contrast to a .

Two different and seemingly inconsistent strategies have developed through different government policies and strategies. The first focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures; this approach is also often known as . The second centers on diversity and cultural uniqueness which can sometimes result in intercultural competition over jobs among other things and may lead to . Controversy surrounding the issue of cultural isolation includes the ghettoization of a culture within a nation and the protection of the cultural attributes of an area or nation. Proponents of government policies often claim that artificial, government guided protections also contribute to global cultural diversity.

(1997). 9780750705875, Falmer Press. .
(2010). 9789048185580, Springer. .
The second approach to multiculturalist policy making maintains that they avoid presenting any specific ethnic, religious, or cultural community values as central.
(2011). 9781409419365, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. .

In the political philosophy of multiculturalism, ideas are focused on the ways in which societies are either believed to, or should, respond to cultural and religious differences. It is often associated with "identity politics", "the politics of difference", and "the politics of recognition". It is also a matter of economic interests and political power. (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy). In more recent times political multiculturalist ideologies have been expanding in their use to include and define disadvantaged groups such as , , with arguments often focussing on ethnic and religious minorities, minority nations, indigenous peoples and even the disabled. It is within this context which the term is most commonly understood and the broadness and scope of the definition, as well as its practical use, has been the subject of serious debate.

Most debates over multiculturalism center around whether or not multiculturalism is the appropriate way to deal with diversity and immigrant integration. The arguments regarding the perceived rights to a multicultural education include the proposition that it acts as a way to demand recognition of aspects of a group's culture osubordination and its entire experience.

The term multiculturalism is most often used in reference to Western , which had seemingly achieved a de facto single national identity during the 18th and/or 19th centuries.

(2011). 9782813000392, Archives contemporaines. .
Multiculturalism has been official policy in several since the 1970s, for reasons that varied from country to country, including the fact that many of the great cities of the Western world are increasingly made of a mosaic of cultures.

The Canadian government has often been described as the instigator of multicultural ideology because of its public emphasis on the social importance of immigration. The Canadian Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism is often referred to as the origins of modern political awareness of multiculturalism.

(2010). 9781412951531, SAGE. .
In the Western English-speaking countries, multiculturalism as an official national policy started in Canada in 1971, followed by Australia in 1973 where it is maintained today. It was quickly adopted as official policy by most member-states of the . Recently, right-of-center governments in several European states – notably the and – have reversed the national policy and returned to an official monoculturalism.Bissoondath, Neil. 2002. Selling Illusions: The Myth of Multiculturalism. Toronto: Penguin. . A similar reversal is the subject of debate in the United Kingdom, among others, due to evidence of incipient segregation and anxieties over "home-grown" . Fact or fiction in the great UK immigration debate. News. April 26, 2005. Retrieved: October 21, 2007. Several heads-of-state or heads-of-government have expressed doubts about the success of multicultural policies: The United Kingdom's ex- , , 's ex-prime minister , ex-prime minister Jose Maria Aznar and ex-president have voiced concerns about the effectiveness of their multicultural policies for integrating immigrants.
(2011). 9781421402963, JHU Press. .

Many nation-states in Africa, Asia, and the Americas are culturally diverse, and are 'multicultural' in a sense. In some, is a major political issue. The policies adopted by these states often have parallels with multiculturalist policies in the Western world, but the historical background is different, and the goal may be a mono-cultural or – for instance in the Malaysian government's attempt to create a 'Malaysian race' by 2020.: The changing of the guard, April 3, 2003.

The next country to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism after Canada was Australia, a country with similar immigration situations and similar policies, for example the formation of the Special Broadcasting Service. The Australian government retains multiculturalism in policy, and as a defining aspect of Australia today.

The White Australia Policy was quietly dismantled after World War II by various changes to immigration policy, although the official policy of multiculturalism was not formally introduced until 1972.
(1997). 9780732943042, Macmillan Education AU. .
The election of John Howard's Liberal-National Coalition government in 1996 was a major watershed for Australian multiculturalism. Howard had long been a critic of multiculturalism, releasing his One Australia policy in the late 1980s.
(2018). 9780804744904, Stanford University Press. .
A Practical Reference to Religious Diversity for Operational Police and Emergency Services was a publication of the Australasian Police Multicultural Advisory Bureau designed to offer guidance to police and emergency services personnel on how religious affiliation can affect their contact with the public. The first edition was published in 1999.
(2018). 9781402030437, Springer. .
The first edition covered , , , and faiths with participation of representatives of the various religions. The second edition added Christian, Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander religions and the Bahá'í Faith to the list of religions was published in 2002.

Contact between people of different cultures in Australia has been characterised by tolerance and engagement, but have also occasionally resulted in conflict and rifts.

(2018). 9781862876538, Federation Press. .

Australia's diverse migrant communities have brought with them food, lifestyle and cultural practices, which have been absorbed into mainstream Australian culture.

Multiculturalism has been a characteristic feature of the island of .
(2005). 9780822334903, Duke University Press. .
Mauritian society includes people from many different ethnic and religious groups: Hindu, Muslim and , Mauritian Creoles (of African and descent), Buddhist and Roman Catholic and (descendants of the original colonists).

The European Union is facing unprecedented demographic changes (an ageing population, low birth rates, changing family structures and migration). According to the European Commission, it is important, both at EU and national level, to review and adapt existing policies. Following a public debate, a 2006 EU policy paper identified five key policy responses to manage demographic change, among them receiving and integrating migrants into Europe.

Historically, Europe has always been a mixture of Latin, Slavic, Germanic, Uralic, Celtic, Hellenic, Illyrian, Thracian and other cultures influenced by the importation of Jewish, Christian, Muslim and other belief systems; although the continent was supposedly unified by the super-position of Imperial Roman Christianity, it is accepted that geographic and cultural differences continued from antiquity into the modern age.

(2011). 9781593853846, Guilford Press. .

In the 19th century, the ideology of transformed the way Europeans thought about the state. Existing states were broken up and new ones created; the new were founded on the principle that each is entitled to its own and to engender, protect, and preserve its own unique culture and history. Unity, under this ideology, is seen as an essential feature of the nation and the nation-state – unity of descent, unity of culture, unity of language, and often unity of religion. The nation-state constitutes a culturally society, although some national movements recognized regional differences.

Where cultural unity was insufficient, it was encouraged and enforced by the state. The 19th-century nation-states developed an array of policies – the most important was compulsory primary education in the national language.

(2008). 9781851099078, ABC-CLIO. .
The language itself was often standardized by a linguistic academy, and regional languages were ignored or suppressed. Some nation-states pursued violent policies of cultural assimilation and even .

Some European Union countries have introduced policies for "social cohesion", "integration", and (sometimes) "assimilation". The policies include:

  • compulsory courses and/or tests on national history, on the and the (e.g., the computer-based test for individuals seeking naturalization in the UK named Life in the United Kingdom test)
  • introduction of an official national history, such as the national canon defined for the Netherlands by the van Oostrom Commission, and promotion of that history (e.g., by exhibitions about )
  • tests designed to elicit "unacceptable" values. In Baden-Württemberg immigrants are asked what they would do if their son says he is a (the desired answer is that they would accept itBBC report at, full list of questions in German at

Other countries have instituted policies which encourage cultural separation.

(2018). 9781402099588, Springer Science & Business Media. .
The concept of "Cultural exception" proposed by France in the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) negotiations in 1993 was an example of a measure aimed at protecting local cultures.
(2008). 9781847209214, Edward Elgar Publishing. .

Since its establishment in 7th century has hosted many religions, ethnic groups and nations. The capital Sofia is the only European city that has peacefully functioning, within walking distance of 300 meters, four Places of worship of the major religions: Eastern Orthodox (St Nedelya Church), Islam (Banya Bashi Mosque), Roman Catholicism (St Joseph Cathedral), and Orthodox Judaism (, the third largest synagogue in Europe).

This unique arrangement has been called by historians a "multicultural cliche".Detrez, Raymond; Segaert, Barbara, 2008, Europe and the Historical Legacies in the Balkans (Multiple Europes), P.I.E. Peter Lang s.a., , p. 55 It has also become known as "The Square of Religious Tolerance"Ban, Ki-moon, The World in the next 20 years and has initiated the construction of a 100-square-meter scale model of the site that is to become a symbol of the capital.

Furthermore, unlike some other allies or German-occupied countries excluding , Bulgaria managed to save its entire 48,000-strong Jewish population during World War II from deportation to Nazi concentration camps.

(2018). 9780691115641, Princeton University Press. .
(2018). 158062541X, Adams Media. 158062541X
According to Dr Marinova-Christidi the main reason for the efforts of Bulgarian people to save the Bulgarian Jews during WWII is that within the region they "co-existed for centuries with other religions" – giving it a unique multicultural and multiethnic history.

Consequently, within the Balkan region Bulgaria has become an example for multiculturalism in terms of variety of religions, artistic creativity The Highs and Lows of Ethno-Cultural Diversity: Young People’s Experiences of Chalga Culture in Bulgaria, Apostolov, Apostol, Anthropology of East Europe Review, Vol 26, No 1 (2008), Cambridge University Press and ethnicity.Ruegg, Francois, 2007, Interculturalism and Discrimination in Romania: Policies, Practices, Identities and Representations, Lit Verlag, Hristova, Svetlana, 2004, Bulgarian Politics of Multiculturalism - uses and abuses, Scientific Research, University Publishing House, South-West University, Blagoevgrad Its largest ethnic minorities, Turks and Roma, enjoy wide political representation. In 1984, following a campaign by the communist regime for a forcible change of the Islamic names of the Turkish minority,The history of Turkish community in Bulgaria, Ibrahim YalamovThe Human Rights of Muslims in Bulgaria in Law and Politics since 1878, Bulgarian Helsinki Committee, 2003The Bulgarian state and Bulgarian Turks (to the middle of the 1930s till the beginning of the 1990s), Bulgarian Archive State Agency an underground organization called «National Liberation Movement of the Turks in Bulgaria» was formed which headed the Turkish community's opposition movement. On January 4, 1990 the activists of the movement registered an organization with the legal name «Movement for Rights and Freedom» (MRF) (in Bulgarian: Движение за права и свободи: in Turkish: Hak ve Özgürlükler Hareketi) in the Bulgarian city of Varna. At the moment of registration it had 33 members, at present, according to the organization's website, 68,000 members plus 24,000 in the organization's youth wing [8]. In 2012 Bulgarian Turks were represented at every level of government: local, with MRF having mayors in 35 municipalities, at parliamentary level with MRF having 38 deputies (14% of the votes in Parliamentary elections for 2009–13) and at executive level, where there is one Turkish minister, . Twenty-one Roma political organizations were founded between 1997 and 2003 in Bulgaria.

In October 2010, told a meeting of younger members of her centrist Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party at , near , that attempts to build a multicultural society in had "utterly failed", stating: "The concept that we are now living side by side and are happy about it does not work". She continued to say that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany's culture and values. This has added to a growing debate within Germany on the levels of immigration, its effect on Germany and the degree to which Muslim immigrants have integrated into German society. "Rauf Ceylan: Muslims in Germany: Religious and Political Challenges and Perspectives in the Diaspora, The Muslim Community of Germany is the first Muslim group to have been granted "corporation under public law status", putting the Community on par with the major Christian churches and Jewish communities of Germany.

Multiculturalism in the Netherlands began with major increases in immigration during the mid-1950s and 1960s.
(2018). 9780415556491, Taylor & Francis. .
As a consequence, an official national policy of multiculturalism was adopted in the early 1980s. This policy subsequently gave way to more assimilationist policies in the 1990s. Following the murders of (in 2002) and Theo van Gogh (in 2004) there was increased political debate on the role of multiculturalism in the Netherlands.
(2006). 9780415355155, Routledge. .

, Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, made a distinction between tolerance and multiculturalism, citing the Netherlands as a tolerant, rather than multicultural, society. In June 2011 the First Rutte cabinet said the Netherlands would turn away from multiculturalism: "Dutch culture, norms and values must be dominant" Minister Donner said.

In there are 19 officially recognised ethnical groups with a status of national minorities.Gojkovic N. System of minorities’ protection in Serbia Konrad Adenauer Foundation is an autonomous province of Serbia, located in the northern part of the country. It has a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural identity; there are more than 26 ethnic groups in the province, which has six official languages. Largest ethnic groups in Vojvodina are (67%), Hungarians (13%), Slovaks, Croats, Romani, Romanians, Montenegrins, , .

Radio Television of Vojvodina broadcasts program in 10 local languages. The project by the Government of AP Vojvodina titled "Promotion of Multiculturalism and Tolerance in Vojvodina", whose primary goal is to foster the cultural diversity and develop the atmosphere of interethnic tolerance among the citizens of Vojvodina, has been successfully implemented since 2005. Serbia is continually working on improving its relationship and inclusion of minorities in its effort to gain full accession to the European Union. Serbia has initiated talks through Stabilisation and Association Agreement on 7 November 2007.

Sweden was the first country to adopt an official policy of multiculturalism in Europe. In May 1975, a unanimous Swedish parliament passed an act on a new multiculturalist immigrant and minority policy put forward by the social democratic government, that explicitly rejected the ideal ethnic homogeneity and the policy of assimilation. The three main principles of the new policy were equality, partnership and freedom of choice. The explicit policy aim of the freedom of choice principle was to create the opportunity for minority groups in Sweden to retain their own languages and cultures. From the mid-1970s, the goal of enabling the preservation of minorities and creating a positive attitude towards the new officially endorsed multicultural society among the majority population became incorporated into the Swedish constitution as well as cultural, educational and media policies. Despite the anti-multiculturalist protestations of the , multiculturalism remains official policy in Sweden.
(2018). 9789521231339, Åbo Akademi.

United Kingdom
Multicultural policies
(1995). 9783893253319, Waxmann Verlag. .
were adopted by local administrations from the 1970s and 1980s onwards. In 1997 the government committed to a multiculturalist approach at a national level,
(2008). 9783638932837, GRIN Verlag. .
but after 2001 there was something of a backlash, led by centre-left commentators such as and . The government then embraced a policy of community cohesion instead. In 2011 Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader said in a speech that "state multiculturalism has failed".


According to the 1961 Census of India, there are 1652 indigenous languages in the country. The culture of India has been shaped by its long history, unique geography and diverse demography. India's languages, religions, dance, music, architecture and customs differ from place to place within the country, but nevertheless possess a commonality. The culture of India is an amalgamation of these diverse spread all over the Indian subcontinent and traditions that are several millennia old.
9788189833183, Aakar Books, 2007.
The previously prevalent Indian caste system describes the social stratification and social restrictions in the Indian subcontinent, in which social classes are defined by thousands of hereditary groups, often termed jātis or ." India – Caste". Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

Religiously, form the majority, followed by Muslims. The statistics are: (80.5%), (13.4%), (2.3%), (2.1%), , Bahá'í, , and populations. Linguistically, the two main language families in India are Indo-Aryan (a branch of Indo-European) and Dravidian. In India's northeast, people speaking Sino-Tibetan group of languages such as (Meitei-lon) recognized by the Indian constitution and Austroasiatic languages are commonly found. India (officially) follows a three-language policy. (spoken in the form of Hindustani) is the official federal language, has the federal status of associate/subsidiary official language and each state has its own state official language (in the Hindi , this reduces to bilingualism). Further, India does not have any national language. The Republic of India's state boundaries are largely drawn based on linguistic groups; this decision led to the preservation and continuation of local ethno-linguistic sub-cultures, except for the Hindi sprachraum which is itself divided into many states. Thus, most states differ from one another in language, culture, , clothing, literary style, architecture, music and festivities.

India has encountered religiously motivated violence,

(2018). 9780674041561, Harvard University Press.
such as the , the , the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, the 2002 Gujarat riots, the 2012 Assam violence, and the 2013 Muzaffarnagar riots. This has resulted from traditionally disadvantaged communities in public employment such as the policing of the same locality, apprehension of owners in giving properties for sale or rent and of society in accepting inter-marriages.

Pluralism, diversity and multiculturalism is a daily fact of life in . There are over 300 ethnic groups in Indonesia.Kuoni – Far East, A world of difference. p. 88. Published 1999 by Kuoni Travel & JPM Publications 95% of those are of Native Indonesian ancestry. The are the largest ethnic group in Indonesia who make up nearly 42% of the total population. The , Malay, and are the next largest groups in the country. There are also more than 700 living languages spoken in Indonesia and although predominantly Muslim the country also has large Christian and Hindu populations.

Indonesia's national motto, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika ("Unity in Diversity" lit. "many, yet one") enshrined in Pancasila national ideology, articulates the diversity that shapes the country. The government nurture and promote the diversity of Indonesian local culture and adopting a pluralist approach.

Due to migration within Indonesia (as part of government transmigration programs or otherwise), there are significant populations of ethnic groups who reside outside of their traditional regions. The Javanese for example, moved from their traditional homeland in Java to the other parts of the archipelago. The expansion of Javanese and their influence throughout Indonesia has raised the issue of , although Minangkabau, , Madurese, and Makassar people, as a result of their merantau (migrating) culture are also quite widely distributed throughout Indonesian archipelago, while Chinese Indonesians can be found in most of urban areas. Because of , major Indonesian cities such as , , , , and has attracted large numbers of Indonesians from various ethnics, cultural and religious background. Jakarta in particular, has almost all of Indonesian ethnic groups represented.

However, this transmigration program and close interactions between people of different cultural backgrounds might caused socio-cultural problems, as the inter-ethnics interactions might not always conducted harmoniously. After the in 1998 into the 2000s, there were numbers of inter-ethnic and inter-religious clashes erupted in Indonesia. Such as clashes between native tribes against transmigrants in during in 1999 and the in 2001. There were also clashes between Muslims and Christians, such as between 1998 and into 2000, and violences in Maluku between 1999 and into 2002. Nevertheless, Indonesia today still struggle and has managed to maintain unity and inter-cultural harmony, through national adherence of pro-pluralism policy of Pancasila promoted and enforced by the government and its people.

Chinese Indonesians are the largest foreign-origin minority that has been residing in Indonesia for generations. Despite centuries of acculturation with native Indonesians, because of their disproportionate influence on Indonesian economy, and alleged question of national loyalty, Chinese Indonesian have suffered discrimination. The Orde Baru or New Order adopted a forced assimilation policy; which indicated that Chinese cultural elements were unacceptable. Chinese Indonesians were forced to adopt Indonesian-sounding names, and the use of Chinese culture and language was banned. The violence targeting Chinese Indonesians erupted during riots in 1998 as the looting and destruction took place, a number of Chinese Indonesians as well as looters were killed. The Chinese Indonesians were treated as the scapegoat of 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, and it was the result of ongoing discrimination and segregation policy enforced during Suharto's New Order regime. Soon after the fourth Indonesian President, Abdurrahman Wahid came into power in 1999, he quickly abolished some of the discriminatory laws in efforts to promote acceptance and to improve inter-racial relationships, such as abolishing the ban on Chinese culture and allowed Chinese traditions to be practised freely. Two years later President Megawati Sukarnoputri declared that the Chinese New Year ( Imlek) would be marked as a national holiday from 2003. Today, Chinese Indonesians enjoy the same rights as other Indonesians.

Japanese society, with its ideology of homogeneity, has traditionally rejected any need to recognize ethnic differences in Japan, even as such claims have been rejected by such ethnic minorities as the and . In 2005, former Japanese Prime Minister and current Japanese Deputy Prime Minister described Japan as a "one civilization, one language, one culture and one race" nation. However, there are "International Society" NPOs funded by local governments throughout Japan.

According to Harvard University professor , Japan does look very homogeneous from a distant perspective, but in fact there are a number of very significant minority groups – ethnically different minority groups – in Japan today, such as the already mentioned and .

Kazakhstan is among the most multicultural countries in Eurasia, with sizeable populations of ethnic Kazakhs, Russians, Uzbeks, Ukrainians, Uighurs, Tatars, Germans and more. Kazakhstan is one of a few countries in post-Soviet territories that managed to avoid interethnic clashes and conflicts in the period of USSR’s final crisis and its eventual breakup. In 1995, Kazakhstan created the Assembly of People of Kazakhstan, an advisory body designed to represent the country's ethnic minorities.

is a multiethnic country, with Malays making up the majority, close to 58% of the population. About 25% of the population are Malaysians of Chinese descent. comprise about 7% of the population. The remaining 10% comprises:

The Malaysian New Economic Policy or NEP serves as a form of racial equalization. Malaysia fury at EU envoy remarks, BBC News It promotes structural changes in various aspects of life from education to economic to social integration. Established after the 13 May racial riots of 1969, it sought to address the significant imbalance in the economic sphere where the minority Chinese population had substantial control over commercial activity in the country.

The has a long history of international trade contacts, influencing its ethnic and religious composition. Predominantly Malays before the 18th century, the ethnic composition changed dramatically when the British introduced new industries, and imported Chinese and Indian labor. Several regions in the then such as , and became Chinese dominated. Until the riots 1969, co-existence between the three ethnicities (and other minor groups) was largely peaceful, although the three main racial groups for the most part lived in separate communities – the Malays in the villages, the Chinese in the urban areas, and the Indians in the towns and plantation. More Malays however have moved into the cities since the 1970s, and the proportion of the non-Malays have been decreasing continually, especially the Chinese, due in large part to lower birth-rate and emigration as a result of institutionalized discrimination.

Preceding independence of the Federation of Malaya, a social contract was negotiated as the basis of a new society. The contract as reflected in the 1957 Malayan Constitution and the 1963 Malaysian Constitution states that the immigrant groups are granted citizenship, and Malays' special rights are guaranteed. This is often referred to the policy.

These pluralist policies have come under pressure from racialist Malay parties, who oppose perceived subversion of Malay rights. The issue is sometimes related to the controversial status of religious freedom in Malaysia.

The ranks 8th among 240 countries in terms of ethnic diversity.YEOH Kok Kheng, Towards an Index of Ethnic Fractionalization, Table 1. Among its several ethnic groups, the country has 10 major distinct groups, mainly the , , , , Moros, Kapampangans, Pangasinans, and . The Philippines also has several aboriginal stocks such as the , , , and the . The country also has huge Spanish and Chinese communities, as well as a substantial number of American, Korean, Japanese and Indian communities. The Philippine government has various programs supporting and preserving the nation's ethnic diversity.

Although there had been no ethnic-based incidents of between many Christian and animist groups, the same cannot be said about relations between them on one hand and their Muslim compatriots on the other. The enduring war in Muslim Mindanao is one of the most prominent examples of religious conflicts pestering the economically frail southwestern Philippines. Since the 1899 , Muslim groups across have bolstered armed offensives against foreign colonizers due to aspirations of self-determination. However, these efforts have failed resulting to the annexation of the , particularly the Sultanate of Sulu to the Philippines.

Because of immigration, has a Chinese majority population with significant minority populations of and Indians (predominantly ). Other prominent smaller groups include and Eurasians. Besides , Singapore recognizes three other languages – , and . English was established as the medium of instruction in schools during the 1960s and 1970s and is the language of trade and government while the other three languages are taught as second languages ("mother tongues"). Besides being a country, Singapore also acknowledges festivals celebrated by the three main ethnic communities.

During British colonial rule, ethnic enclaves such as , Chinatown, and Little India were enforced. Presently (2010), remnants of colonial ethnic concentration still exist but housing in Singapore is governed by the Ethnic Integration Policy, which ensures an even ethnic distribution throughout Singapore.(n.d.) In Housing Development Boards of Singapore website. Retrieved: November 18, 2010 from Policy Changes To Support An Inclusive And Cohesive Home. A similar policy exists in politics as all Group Representation Constituencies are required to field at least one candidate from an ethnic minority.

South Korea
remains a relatively homogenous country ethnically, linguistically, and culturally." Korea's ethnic nationalism is a source of both pride and prejudice, according to Gi-Wook Shin". The Korea Herald. August 2, 2006. Foreigners, expatriates, and immigrants are often rejected by the mainstream South Korean society and face discrimination." The Life Instability of Intermarried Japanese Women in Korea" (1999), Eung-Ryul Kim (Korea University and University of Southern California, The Center for Multiethnic and Transnational Studies)

However, the word "multiculturalism" is increasingly heard in South Korea. In 2007, Han Geon-Soo, Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Kangwon National University, published an article entitled "Multicultural Korea: Celebration or Challenge of Multiethnic Shift in Contemporary Korea?", noting: "As the increase of foreign migrants in South Korea transforms a single-ethnic homogeneous South Korean society into multiethnic and multicultural one, the Korean government and the civil society pay close attention to multiculturalism as an alternative value to their policy and social movement." He argued, however, that "the current discourses and concerns on multiculturalism in South Korea" lacked "the constructive and analytical concepts for transforming a society".Han Geon-Soo, "Multicultural Korea: Celebration or Challenge of Multiethnic Shift in Contemporary Korea?", Korea Journal, Vol. 47 No. 4, Winter 2007, pp. 32–63

The same year, Stephen Castles of the International Migration Institute argued:

"Korea no longer has to decide whether it wants to become a multicultural society. It made that decision years ago – perhaps unconsciously – when it decided to be a full participant in the emerging global economy. It confirmed that decision when it decided to actively recruit foreign migrants to meet the economic and demographic needs of a fast-growing society. Korea is faced by a different decision today: what type of multicultural society does it want to be?"Stephen Castles, "Will Labour Migration lead to a Multicultural Society in Korea?", Global Human Resources Forum 2007 / International Migration Institute

The suggested in 2009 that South Korea was likely to become a multicultural society. "Multiculturalism Likely to Prevail in Korea", Lee Hyo-sik, Korea Times, December 24, 2009 In 2010, an opinion editorial written by Peter Underwood for the stated: "Media in South Korea is abuzz with the new era of multiculturalism. With more than one million foreigners in South Korea, 2 percent of the population comes from other cultures." He further opined:

"If you stay too long, Koreans become uncomfortable with you. ... Having a 2 percent foreign population unquestionably causes ripples, but having one million temporary foreign residents does not make Korea a multicultural society. ... In many ways, this homogeneity is one of Korea’s greatest strengths. Shared values create harmony. Sacrifice for the nation is a given. Difficult and painful political and economic initiatives are endured without discussion or debate. It is easy to anticipate the needs and behavior of others. It is the cornerstone that has helped Korea survive adversity. But there is a downside, too. ... Koreans are immersed in their culture and are thus blind to its characteristics and quirks. Examples of group think are everywhere. Because Koreans share values and views, they support decisions even when they are obviously bad. Multiculturalism will introduce contrasting views and challenge existing assumptions. While it will undermine the homogeneity, it will enrich Koreans with a better understanding of themselves."

Although many debates still take place as to whether South Korea really is a multicultural society or not, it is generally agreed that South Korea has probably entered a stage of multiculturalism and has moved away from its homogeneous identity. Around 35–40% of South Korean men in the rural area outside Seoul are engaged with wives from different countries. According to the Dongponews, an online media that connects migrants and immigrants of South Korea, the number of foreigners residing in South Korea reached 1.43 million by 2012, and is likely to increase more and more, reaching to the scale that cannot be undermined. More than that, South Korea is going through a serious stage of low birthrate, leading to an aging society in shortage of labor forces. Another big changing factor is that Korea already has multi-ethnic, multi-cultural families appearing in great numbers, as one in every ten marriage is between a South Korean and a foreigner, and in the rural side this portion is greater. Is ROK a multicultural society? Dongpo News. 2012-05-18. Retrieved 2012-06-05. As such change takes place in such short period of time, it can be understood that many conflicts arise among different groups of people; the immigrants, government, and the rest of Korean society. Recently a lot of media attention is given to these people; documentaries on the lives of wives and their children are often shown, as well as talk shows that portray struggles and conflicts these people go through such as Love in Asia; a talk show hosting foreign wives, sharing their experience of marriage and family life, broadcast by the national broadcasting channel, KBS. Many South Koreans recently have recognized that the change that South Korean society is going through due to this media attention. Government policies have also changed very recently; a lot of welfare programs and extracurricular activities are launched under the name of "multicultural policy." The policy is quite recent phenomenon.

United Arab Emirates
Although is the official language of the United Arab Emirates, , , , , , , Indonesian, and many other languages are widely spoken and understood, particularly in the main cities of and . The hosts expatriate workers from 200 countries, with a majority coming from the Indian subcontinent. The UAE has widely accepted all other religions, granting permission for the construction of temples or churches. Foreigners make up about 85% of the population. However, the UAE does not have an open immigration policy and Emirati citizens form a largely homogeneous Arab society; all foreigners reside in the country as temporary workers and visitors.


Though not called Multiculturalism as such, the preamble of Argentina's constitution explicitly promotes immigration, and recognizes the individual's multiple citizenship from other countries. Though 97% of Argentina's population self-identify as of European descent to this day a high level of multiculturalism remains a feature of Argentina's culture,
(2018). 9780804783910, Stanford University Press. .
allowing foreign festivals and holidays (e.g. Saint Patrick's Day), supporting all kinds of art or cultural expression from , as well as their diffusion through an important multicultural presence in the media; for instance it is not uncommon to find newspapers* Buenos Aires Herald, Argentine-English language newspaper or radio programs in , , , or Portuguese in Argentina.

Canadian society is often depicted as being "very progressive, diverse, and multicultural".
(2011). 9781409419365, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. .
Multiculturalism (a ) was adopted as the official policy of the Canadian government during the premiership of Pierre Elliott Trudeau in the 1970s and 1980s.
(1983). 9780415094511, Routledge. .
Multiculturalism is reflected in the law through the Canadian Multiculturalism Act and section 27 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Broadcasting Act of 1991 asserts the Canadian broadcasting system should reflect the diversity of cultures in the country.
(2018). 9780774817752, University of British Columbia Press.
Canadian multiculturalism is looked upon with admiration outside the country, resulting in the Canadian public dismissing most critics of the concept.
(2018). 9780774814287, UBC Press. .
(2018). 9780774840071, UBC Press. .
Multiculturalism in Canada is often looked at as one of Canada's significant accomplishments,
(2018). 9780773592209, McGill-Queen's Press. .
and a key distinguishing element of Canadian identity.
(2018). 9780773523043, McGill-Queen's Press. .

In a 2002 interview with the Globe and Mail, Karīm al-Hussainī the 49th of the described Canada as "the most successful pluralist society on the face of our globe", citing it as "a model for the world". He explained that the experience of Canadian governance – its commitment to pluralism and its support for the rich multicultural diversity of its peoples – is something that must be shared and would be of benefit to all societies in other parts of the world. ran a cover story in 2016 praising Canada as the most successful multicultural society in the West. The Economist argued that Canada's multiculturalism was a source of strength that united the diverse population and by attracting immigrants from around the world was also an engine of economic growth as well.

has historically always been a multicultural country, with people of ethnic groups including those of indigenous background, various European backgrounds, Africans, and a small Asian community. has recently been integrating rapidly, doing much better than many cities in a sample conducted by the Intercultural Cities Index (being the only non-European city, alongside , on the index).

United States
In the United States, multiculturalism is not clearly established in policy at the federal level, but ethnic diversity is common in both rural and urban areas.

Continuous mass immigration was a feature of the United States economy and society since the first half of the 19th century.

(2018). 9788884924988, Edizioni Plus. .
The absorption of the stream of immigrants became, in itself, a prominent feature of America's . The idea of the is a that implies that all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention.Zangwill, Israel. The Melting Pot, 1908. The melting pot theory implied that each individual immigrant, and each group of immigrants, assimilated into American society at their own pace. This is different than multiculturalism as defined above, which does not include complete assimilation and integration.
(2018). 9780415949163, Routledge. .
An Americanized (and often stereotypical) version of the original nation's cuisine, and its holidays, survived. The melting pot tradition co-exists with a belief in national unity, dating from the American founding fathers:

Providence has been pleased to give this one connected country to one united people – a people descended from the same ancestors, speaking the same language, professing the same religion, attached to the same principles of government, very similar in their manners and customs... This country and this people seem to have been made for each other, and it appears as if it was the design of Providence, that an inheritance so proper and convenient for a band of brethren, united to each other by the strongest ties, should never be split into a number of unsocial, jealous, and alien sovereignties., First American Supreme Court Chief Justice, Federalist Paper No. 2'''

As a , multiculturalism began as part of the movement at the end of the nineteenth century in and the United States, then as political and cultural pluralism at the turn of the twentieth.
(2006). 9780470019436, John Wiley & Sons. .
It was partly in response to a new wave of European imperialism in sub-Saharan Africa and the massive immigration of Southern and Eastern Europeans to the United States and . Philosophers, psychologists and historians and early sociologists such as Charles Sanders Peirce, , , , , W. E. B. Du Bois and developed concepts of cultural pluralism, from which emerged what we understand today as multiculturalism. In Pluralistic Universe (1909), William James espoused the idea of a "." James saw pluralism as "crucial to the formation of philosophical and social to help build a better, more egalitarian society.

The educational approach to multiculturalism has since spread to the system, as school systems try to rework their curricula to introduce students to diversity earlier – often on the grounds that it is important for minority students to see themselves represented in the classroom.

(2004). 9780195179750, Oxford University Press. .
Jesse Kirkpatrick. (2011). Miami Beach: Diversity at Work. Miami Beach News. Retrieved from: Studies estimated 46 million Americans ages 14 to 24 to be the most diverse generation in American society. In 2009 and 2010, controversy erupted in Texas as the state's curriculum committee made several changes to the state's requirements, often at the expense of minorities. They chose to juxtapose Abraham Lincoln's inaugural address with that of Confederate president ; Historians speak out against proposed Texas textbook changes Michael Birnbaum, March 18, 2010. they debated removing Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and labor-leader The Culture Wars' New Front: U.S. History Classes in Texas, Stephanie Simon, July 14, 2009. and rejected calls to include more Hispanic figures, in spite of the high Hispanic population in the state. Texas Conservatives Win Curriculum Change, James C. McKinley Jr., March 12, 2010.


Multiculturalism is seen by its supporters as a fairer system that allows people to truly express who they are within a society, that is more tolerant and that adapts better to social issues. They argue that culture is not one definable thing based on one race or religion, but rather the result of multiple factors that change as the world changes.

Historically, support for modern multiculturalism stems from the changes in Western societies after World War II, in what Susanne Wessendorf calls the "human rights revolution", in which the horrors of institutionalized racism and became almost impossible to ignore in the wake of the ; with the collapse of the , as colonized nations in Africa and Asia successfully fought for their independence and pointed out the discriminatory underpinnings of the colonial system; and, in the United States in particular, with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, which criticized ideals of assimilation that often led to prejudices against those who did not act according to Anglo-American standards and which led to the development of academic programs as a way to counteract the neglect of contributions by racial minorities in classrooms.Susanne Wessendorf, The multiculturalism backlash: European discourses, policies and practices, p. 35; accessed through Google Books, 12 February 2011.Paul C. Gorski, "A Brief History of Multicultural Education",, November 1999; accessed 12 February 2011. As this history shows, multiculturalism in Western countries was seen to combat racism, to protect minority communities of all types, and to undo policies that had prevented minorities from having full access to the opportunities for freedom and equality promised by the that has been the hallmark of Western societies since the Age of Enlightenment. The contact hypothesis in sociology is a well documented phenomenon in which cooperative interactions with those from a different group than one's own reduce prejudice and inter-group hostility.

C. James Trotman argues that multiculturalism is valuable because it "uses several disciplines to highlight neglected aspects of our social history, particularly the histories of women and minorities ...and promotes respect for the dignity of the lives and voices of the forgotten.

(2018). 9780253340023, Indiana University Press. .
By closing gaps, by raising consciousness about the past, multiculturalism tries to restore a sense of wholeness in a era that fragments human life and thought."

argues that in the early years of the 21st century, multiculturalism "is most timely and necessary, and ... we need more not less", since it is "the form of integration" that (1) best fits the ideal of , (2) has "the best chance of succeeding" in the "post-9/11, post 7/7" world, and (3) has remained "moderate and pragmatic".

(2018). 9780745632889, Polity. .

counters what he sees as the tendencies to equate multiculturalism with racial minorities "demanding special rights" and to see it as promoting a "thinly veiled racism". Instead, he argues that multiculturalism is in fact "not about minorities" but "is about the proper terms of relationship between different cultural communities", which means that the standards by which the communities resolve their differences, e.g., "the principles of justice" must not come from only one of the cultures but must come "through an open and equal dialogue between them."

(2018). 9780674009950, Harvard UP.

Balibar characterizes criticisms of multiculturalism as "differentialist racism", which he describes as a covert form of racism that does not purport ethnic superiority as much as it asserts stereotypes of perceived "incompatibility of life-styles and traditions".

(2018). 041528483X, Routledge. 041528483X

While there is research that suggests that ethnic diversity increases chances of war, lower public goods provision and decreases democratization, there is also research that shows that ethnic diversity in itself is not detrimental to peace, public goods provision or democracy. Rather, it was found that promoting diversity actually helps in advancing disadvantaged students.

The Wikimedia Foundation suggests that "diversity of perspectives is crucial to increasing the quality of the free knowledge resources that their movement provides.". also suggests that "the world is complicated and there is no single consensus – especially in a knowledge base that is supposed to serve many cultures."

Critics of multiculturalism often debate whether the multicultural ideal of benignly co-existing cultures that interrelate and influence one another, and yet remain distinct, is sustainable, paradoxical, or even desirable.
(2009). 9780754676072, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.. .
(2000). 9780889369092, IDRC. .
(2009). 9781402090349, Springer. .
It is argued that , who would previously have been synonymous with a distinctive cultural identity of their own, lose out to enforced multiculturalism and that this ultimately erodes the host nations' distinct culture.

Harvard professor of political science Robert D. Putnam conducted a nearly decade-long study on how multiculturalism affects social trust. He surveyed 26,200 people in 40 American communities, finding that when the data were adjusted for class, income and other factors, the more racially diverse a community is, the greater the loss of trust. People in diverse communities "don’t trust the local mayor, they don’t trust the local paper, they don’t trust other people and they don’t trust institutions," writes Putnam. In the presence of such ethnic diversity, Putnam maintains that

We hunker down. We act like turtles. The effect of diversity is worse than had been imagined. And it’s not just that we don’t trust people who are not like us. In diverse communities, we don’t trust people who do look like us.

Putnam has also stated, however, that "this allergy to diversity tends to diminish and to go away... I think in the long run we'll all be better."Martin, Michel, " Political Scientist: Does Diversity Really Work?" Tell Me More, NPR. Written 15 August, 2007, accessed 15 September, 2017.

Ethnologist writes:

Relatively homogeneous societies invest more in public goods, indicating a higher level of public altruism. For example, the degree of ethnic homogeneity correlates with the government's share of gross domestic product as well as the average wealth of citizens. Case studies of the United States, Africa and South-East Asia find that multi-ethnic societies are less charitable and less able to cooperate to develop public infrastructure. Moscow beggars receive more gifts from fellow ethnics than from other ethnies . A recent multi-city study of municipal spending on public goods in the United States found that ethnically or racially diverse cities spend a smaller portion of their budgets and less per capita on public services than do the more homogeneous cities.Salter, Frank, On Genetic Interests, p. 146.

, former three-term Democratic governor of the US state of , wrote in his essay "I have a plan to destroy America":

Diverse peoples worldwide are mostly engaged in hating each other—that is, when they are not killing each other. A diverse, peaceful, or stable society is against most historical precedent."

A number of conservative historians used the religion of the Mexica, better known as the Aztecs as an example of what they see as the flaws of multiculturalism. The Australian historian Keith Windschuttle cited the accounts of his fellow Australian historian of the festival of where to honor the Maize Lord a young woman was sacrificed by ripping out her heart so the crops might grow:

Then, still in darkness, silence, and urgent haste, her body was flayed, and a naked priest, a 'very strong man, very powerful, very tall', struggled into the wet skin, with its slack breasts and pouched genitalia: a double nakedness of layered, ambiguous sexuality. The skin of one thigh was reserved to be fashioned into a face-mask for the man impersonating Centeotl, Young Lord Maize Cob, the son of Toci.Clendinnen, Inga Aztecs: An Interpretation, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press 1995. p. 201.

Windschuttle argued that the gruesome religion of the Aztecs that required that dozens of young people be sacrificed and eaten every day so that the sun might rise the next day and hundreds of people sacrificed for major holidays as proving that multiculturalism is a facile doctrine that requires Westerners to respect Aztec religion as equal to any other religion.Windshuttle, Keith The Killing of History How Literary Critics and Social Theorists Are Murdering Our Past, San Francisco: Encounter Books, 1997. p. 69. Along the same lines, the American classicist Victor Davis Hanson denounced Aztec culture as fundamentally barbarous and irrational, which he compared unfavorably with the "rationalism" of the Spanish who conquered Mexico in 1519–21.Hanson, Victor Davis Carnage and Culture: Landmark Battles in the Rise to Western Power, New York: Random House, 2001. p. 205 Hanson argued that Hernán Cortés conquered Mexico because he was a product of the rational culture of the West, unlike who Hanson noted dismissively at first believed the Spanish were gods and who consulted "sorcerers and necromancers" instead using his reason. Hanson used the differences between Moctezuma and Cortés to argue that Western culture was superior to every culture in the entire world, which thus led him to reject multiculturalism as a false doctrine that placed all cultures on an equal footing.

In (), which is officially bi-cultural, multiculturalism has been seen as a threat to the Maori, and possibly an attempt by the New Zealand Government to undermine Maori demands for self determination.

See also

  • Global Centre for Pluralism (Canada)
  • Intercultural competence
  • List of countries ranked by ethnic and cultural diversity level
  • Multiculturalism Without Culture (book)
  • Multicultural art
  • Multicultural education
  • Multinational state


Further reading

  • (2002). 9780674010017, Harvard University Press. .
  • (1999). 9780415922135, Psychology Press. .
  • (1998). 9780415121590, Psychology Press. .
  • (2005). 9780472030798, University of Michigan Press. .
  • (2010). 9780761850564, Government Institutes. .
  • (1999). 9781400840991, Princeton University Press. .
  • (2018). 9780776606705, University of Ottawa Press. .
  • (2008). 9780415396080, Taylor & Francis. .
  • (1994). 9780631189121, Blackwell Publishers.
  • (1996). 9780816625475, University of Minnesota Press.
  • (2004). 9780826215208, University of Missouri Press. .
  • Icart, Jean-Claude (2007). "Racism in Canada" in Across Cultures Montreal: National Film Board of Canada.
  • (1978). 9783771103118, International Progress Organization. .
  • (2018). 9781856495608, Zed Books. .
  • (1995). 9780191520976, Oxford University Press. .
  • Kymlicka, Will (8 December 2005). Multiculturalism in Asia. Oxford University Press. ()
  • Ley, David "multiculturalism" in Gregory, Derek (ed.) (2009) The Dictionary of Human Geography (5th ed.) Blackwell Publishers.
  • (2018). 9781409411215, Ashgate. .
  • (1997). 9781856494229, Palgrave Macmillan. .
  • (2018). 9780674009950, Harvard University Press. .
  • (2018). 9780791486757, State University of New York Press.
  • (2011). 9781400821402, Princeton University Press. .

External links

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