Topics: Multiculturalism, Culture, Melting pot Pages: 13 (4248 words) Published: December 28, 2012
"Ethnic diversity" redirects here. Thus some aspects of this article concern ethnic diversity.\ Multiculturalism is a public policy approach for managing cultural diversity in a multiethnic society, officially stressing mutual respect and tolerance for cultural differences within a country's borders. As a policy, multiculturalism emphasizes the unique characteristics of different cultures, especially as they relate to one another in receiving nations. The word was first used in 1957 to describe Switzerland, but came into common currency in Canada in the late 1960s. It quickly spread to other English-speaking countries. Official multiculturalism

Multiculturalism can also be a prescriptive term which describes government policy. In dealing with immigrants groups and their cultures, there are essentially four approaches- Monoculturalism: In most Old World nations, notably with the exception of the UK, culture is very closely linked to nationalism, thus government policy is to assimilate immigrants These countries have policies aiming at the social integration of immigrant groups to the national culture. This is typical of nations that define themselves as one and indivisible and do not recognize the existence of other nations within their midst. Leading Culture (German: Leitkultur): This societal model has been developed in Germany by the orientalist Bassam Tibi. In his book 'Europa ohne Identität' ('Europe with no identity'), communities within a country can have an identity of their own, but they at least support the core concepts of the leading culture on which a society is based. In the West these concepts are democracy, separation of church and state, Enlightenment, civil society.

Melting Pot: In the United States the traditional view has been one of a melting pot where all the immigrant cultures are mixed and amalgamated without state intervention. However, many states have different language policies within the union. Immigrants maintain their own culture and family background while also becoming Americans.

Multiculturalism: In comparison to the above two approaches, multiculturalism is a view, or policy, that immigrants, and others, should preserve their cultures with the different cultures interacting peacefully within one nation. Today, this is the official policy of Canada, Australia and the UK. However, contrasting views on the Australian model articulate a fundamental shift that identifies a singular homogenised culture derived from a heterogenous society. Multiculturalism has been described as preserving a "cultural mosaic" of separate ethnic groups, and is contrasted to a "melting pot" that mixes them. This has also been described as the "salad bowl" model.

No country falls completely into one, or another, of these categories. For example, France has made efforts to adapt French culture to new immigrant groups, while Canada still has many policies that work to encourage assimilation. Some, such as Diane Ravitch, use the term multiculturalism differently, describing both the melting pot, and Canada's cultural mosaic as being multicultural and refers to them as pluralistic and particularist multiculturalism. In her terminology, pluralistic multiculturalism views each culture or subculture in a society as contributing unique and valuable cultural aspects to the whole culture. Particularist multiculturalism is more concerned with preserving the distinctions between cultures.


Multiculturalism became incorporated into official policies in several nations in the 1970s for reasons that varied from country to country.

In Canada, it was adopted in 1971 following the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, a government body set up in response to the grievances of Canada's French-speaking minority (concentrated in the Province of Quebec). The report of the Commission advocated that the Canadian government recognize Canada as a bilingual and bicultural society and...
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