What Is Cultural Pluralism?

Subject: Culture
Pages: 6
Words: 1516
Reading time:
6 min
Study level: College


In this paper, I have discussed cultural pluralism as an aspect that affects political, social, and religious systems in society. Cultural issues that cause diversity in the 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 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 a culture that the foundations of politics, economics, language and another aspect of man are established. Culture promotes the image of 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 has about their cultural practices. People tend to appreciate their cultures, and they protect such cultures for the benefit of 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 pluralism

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 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 the difference in personal differences and the need for independence in decision making. The state has a limited influence on the religious, political, and cultural values that the people adopt. There is a 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 of 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 for improving interactions. Technology has also facilitated cultural integration through the development of equipment, which enhances people to communicate from distant places (Brooks, 2002).

The self-reference criterion is an aspect that is experienced in a culturally 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. The 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 hindrance because people encode and decode messages 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 of 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 culturally 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 culturally 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 culturally plural environment, they are able to learn about the cultures of different people. This reduces conflicts that 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 culturally diversified communities is an important aspect that leaders ought to accomplish to avoid conflicts that 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 for 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. 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 on 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 that can be learned within a long duration period. People find it difficult to adopt the cultural practices of other people. There is a need to accept the cultures of other people so that a person can fully understand the cultural practices of other people. Many people are not willing to accept other people’s cultures, and this creates a great barrier to integrating different cultural practices (Brooks, 2002).

In addition, communication is affected when people have different believes because language is the main tool for exchanging cultural aspects. Language barriers tend to affect the 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 in 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 modern societies, and there is a need to embrace the changes being experienced in the world today. There have been different benefits and drawbacks associated with cultural pluralism, and it is important for societies to focus on eliminating the drawbacks as well as improving the benefits. There is a 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.


Allaboutreligion (2010). What is cultural pluralism? Web.

Brooks, S. (2002). The challenge of cultural pluralism. New York: NY. Greenwood Publishing Group.

Gupta, V. (2003). “Cultural dimensions and international marketing;” IIMB Management Review, Indian Institute of Management Bangalore.

Helly, D. (2002). Cultural pluralism: An overview of the debate since the 60s. The Global Review of Ethnopolitics. 2(1). P. 75-96.

Jain, S. C. (1989). “Standardization of international marketing strategy: some research hypothesis”, Journal of Marketing. 53(1), 70-80.

Rao, C. P. (2006). Marketing and multicultural diversity. ISBN 0754643263, Ashgate Publishing, Ltd.