Multiculturalism in a Globalized Society

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Multiculturalism in a globalized society explores the concepts and debates surrounding the complex modern phenomenon of multiculturalism, and its varied effects on the advanced industrial nations of the world with clarity and concision, it focuses on the interrelated ties of ethnicity, race, nationalism in a world where globalizing processes have made such ties increasingly important in economic, political and cultural terms. Multiculturalism relates to communities containing multiple cultures. It usually refers to the simple fact of cultural diversity. It is generally applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, sometime at the organizational level, like schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities, or nations. As a normative term, it refers to ideologies or policies that promote this diversity or its institutionalization; in this sense, multiculturalism is a society “at ease with the rich tapestry of human life and the desire amongst people to express their own identity in the manner they see fit.” (Heywood 2000 p.227). Such ideologies or policies vary widely, including country to country, ranging from the advocacy of equal respect to the various cultures in a society, to a policy of promoting the maintenance of cultural diversity, to policies in which people of various ethnic and religious groups are addressed by the authorities as defined by the group they belong to. However, two main different and seemingly inconsistent strategies have developed through different Government policies and strategies. The first focuses on interaction and communication between different cultures. Interactions of cultures provide opportunities for the cultural differences to communicate and interact to create multiculturalism. Such approaches are also often known as interculturalism. The second centers on diversity and cultural uniqueness. Cultural isolation can protect the uniqueness of the local culture of a nation or area and also contribute to global cultural diversity. A common aspect of many policies following the second approach is that they avoid presenting any specific ethnic, religious, or cultural community values as central (Bloor 2010 p. 272). Multiculturalism is the doctrine that several different cultures rather than one culture can coexist peacefully and equitably in a single country. Multiculturalism is seen 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. Trotman and Parekh 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 ethnic cleansing became almost impossible to ignore in the wake of the Holocaust; with the collapse of the European colonial system, as colonized nations in Africa and Asia successfully fought for their independence and pointed out the racist 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 ethnic studies programs as a way to counteract the neglect of contributions by racial minorities in classrooms. As this history shows, multiculturalism in Western countries was seen as a useful set of strategies 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 liberalism that has been the hallmark of Western societies since the Age of Enlightenment. As multiculturalism is a society...
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