In this paper I have discussed cultural pluralism as an aspect that affects political, social and religious systems in the society. Cultural issues that cause diversity in modern world have been explained while the benefits and drawbacks of cultural pluralism have been explained. It has also been established that people in the modern world are working towards integrating their cultures and cultural pluralism is more pronounced than before due to globalization.
Cultural pluralism is the state where people from different cultural backgrounds co-exist peacefully with each other at the same place. As such, people from different cultures live together harmoniously while they maintain their cultural identity. Various groups in such a society are able to cooperate in most of their activities and they have most of things being unique. It is important to note that social, religious, and political systems are founded on the basis that culture is diversified. Cultural diversity defines the extent t which people in a particular society can exercise their powers (Allaboutreligion, 2010).
Culture is defined as a collection of myths, believes, values and ethics that a given people uphold. It is through culture that the foundations of politics, economics, language and other aspect of man are established. Culture promotes the image of a society and gives identity to people in a given community. Different communities have different cultures and this brings about a complicated system. Since there is no particular that can survive on its own, cultural diversity has brought about the co-existence of people with different cultures in the same communities.
Cultural identity is an important aspect that people consider when developing self concepts and this brings about the idea of possessiveness that have about their cultural practices. People tend to appreciate their cultures and they protect such cultures for the benefit of the future generations. Every person likes identifying with specific cultures and it is for this reason that people will tend to protect their cultures. Political systems have been developed alongside the fact that people tend to protect their cultures to avoid losing their identities.
Cultural homogeneity is not possible in the world today and the existence of people from different cultures is a common phenomenon. Cultural diversity cannot be negated in a society where people seek the freedom to make individual decisions. Violence and inequality are common things experienced in the society due to the imbalance among the people. Human beings seek liberty and this endeavor is propagated by the need to achieve independence. Therefore, cultural pluralism emanates from difference in personal differences and the need for independence in decision making. The state has limited influence on the religious, political and cultural values that the people adopt. There is need for state leaders to remain neutral especially to matters concerning specific values (Helly, 2002).
Today, people have been able to interact more due to the efficiency in mobility. Globalization has also brought about the need for people to interact with each other and the world has become a global village. As people continue to develop better systems there continues to be a need to come up with better technologies of improving interactions. Technology has also facilitated cultural integration through the development of equipments which enhance people to communicate from distance places (Brooks, 2002).
Self reference criterion is an aspect that is experienced in a cultural plural society. This is the condition where people tend to perceive things according to their cultural believes and practices. People fail to understand things according to the cultural dimension of others and this is a major disadvantage of cultural pluralism. Self reference criterion causes poor communication between people in a community or any social system. Since communication is a process where people exchange understanding with each other, cultural pluralism may become a major hindrances because people encode and decode message according to their cultural backgrounds (Gupta, 2003).
Gupta (2003) suggests that “culture works by generating a sequence of para-conscious vibrations in human life, which reverberate through the mental attitudes, psychological beliefs, physical behaviors and social breeding of individuals in the system” (p. 71). There is a positive relationship between the effectiveness of communication and the cultural understanding by the people involved in a communication process (Jain, 1989).
Leaders from different communities have feared that cultural pluralism may erode their national unity. This has propagated a lot of rivalry among people living in cultural diversified environments. Tribalism, racisms and other forms of discrimination have resulted from cultural diversity. As people continue to protect the interests of their communities they end up developing resistance towards accommodating the cultures of other people. Political enmity has become a common feature in cultural diversified communities. To reduce such conflicts political leaders should focus on building networks among the members of the communities they serve (Brooks, 2002).
Pros of cultural pluralism
When people live in a cultural plural environment, they are able to learn the cultures of different people. This reduces conflicts which may arise due to cultural differences. Cultural diversity and pluralism is an important aspect in modern organizations and communal settings because it brings about change. When people understand the cultures of other people, they are able to adjust by adopting the best cultural practices and shaping their cultures so as to achieve a friendly cultural system. Cultural pluralism provides people with the ability to identify the weaknesses in their practices and this helps develop strong cultural systems (Rao, 2006).
Political systems are founded on cultural pluralism in that people are able to become more acquainted with the political needs of other people. When people believe in different political values, they become aware of the weaknesses and strengths of their political systems and this helps develop better political systems. Working on unifying the different communities in cultural diversified communities is an important aspect that leaders ought to accomplish to avoid conflicts which arise when people have plural cultural systems. Failing to understand the needs of the different cultural groups may cause the establishment of stereotypes. As such, people tend to have false images about the cultures of other people. Cultural unity is very important in creating strong political kingdoms (Rao, 2006).
In economic systems, cultural diversity provides a foundation of diversifying production. In modern market systems, organizations are operating in multicultural environments and it is important to learn the different cultures in which they operate with. Economic integration has been a common thing that many countries have tried to achieve in modern markets with an aim to provide better trade systems (Brooks, 2002).
Understanding the cultures of the different people involved in international trade has become an essential aspect. Marketers are focusing the cultural trends of their consumers so that they can manufacture products that match the needs of the different consumer groups in the markets they serve. On the other hand, managers find it important to learn the cultural needs of their employees as well as that of all stakeholders. As such, they are able to develop strategies that focus on achieving the goals of their organizations. Politics within organizations are established on the different cultural values of the people involved in the activities of an organization. Learning the political systems in an organization can only be achieved by adopting better strategies of embracing the cultural values of all groups of the organization (Brooks, 2002).
Cons of cultural pluralism
Working with people from different cultures requires understanding their practices. This may become a great challenge because cultures are complicated systems which can be learned within a long duration of period. People find it difficult to adopt he cultural practices of other people. There is need to accept the cultures of other people so that a person can understand fully the cultural practices for other people. Many people are not willing to accept other people’s cultures and this creates a great barrier towards integrating different cultural practices (Brooks, 2002).
In addition communication is affected when people have different believes because language is the main tool of exchanging cultural aspects. Language barriers tend to affect free exchange of ideas between people of different cultures. Some people perceive that their cultures are superior to others and this aspect causes some people to disregard others. As such, this can result into conflicts and poor interaction among people from different cultures. When people feel disregarded they tend to ignore ideas generated by others and may huge loss especially when there are important issues being affected by the conflicts (Brooks, 2002).
Cultural pluralism has been experienced in the modern societies and there is need to embrace the changes being experienced in the world today. There have been different benefits and drawbacks associated with cultural pluralism and it are important for societies to focus on eliminating the drawbacks as well as improving the benefits. There is need to create unity and harmony among people living in multicultural environments to enhance peaceful co-existence. Political systems should be encouraged to adopt cultural diversity as one of the key factors of developing the communities they serve.