What is a monocultural society?

Do you live in a monocultural or multicultural society? We often have difficulty defining. What is a monocultural society?

Most experts agree that the essential characteristics of a monocultural society are a common heritage, belief structure, language and usually a single-race identity. Because we live in a more globalized world, many of our societies are fundamentally multicultural. But still many of today’s societies share the common features of a monocultural society.

What are these common characteristics?

1. A common heritage

Society’s historical heritage could be based on a perception that nations, food, language, attitudes, racial characteristics and religious beliefs are an essential part of the nation’s identity.

2. A shared belief structure

The majority of the citizens of a country have a shared belief structure, based on the nation’s heritage. These beliefs form the national identity and the “psyche”, which for many creates a stronger cohesive society, but for detractors a nation that loses out on the benefits of a multicultural ethnic society.

3. An inward-looking ‘psyche’

For many, monocultural societies tend to turn inward rather than outward, and this can manifest itself in the nation’s culture. TV shows and news tend to be locally centered, and the identity of the culture is greatly promoted. A degree of ignorance of the outside world is often a product of looking inward.

4. A suspicion of “foreigners”

The “psyche” of a monocultural society can often be suspicious of “foreigners” and unacceptable of their beliefs. This can lead to discouraging multicultural partnerships, to a “ghetto” mentality of separating cultures through the areas in which they can live. .

5. Common religious values

Although religion is seen as less important in some societies, other cultures see it as part of their national or ethnic identity. A strong monocultural official religion is often a strong feature of such a society.

6. Tribalism

Citizens of strong multicultural societies tend to be more tribal when living outside their own culture. Multicultural marriages are unacceptable, the neighbors, the food and even the workplace tend to be “tribal” – the influence of the new society diminished by this strong cultural bond between others who share it.

7. Purchase of goods

Monocultural societies tend to support their own products rather than buying products from other nations. They tend to be proud of their industries and economic achievements – encouraging them to buy nationally produced products above others. This is advantageous in a recession, but in an expanding economy it can hinder consumers’ choices.

Monocultural societies tend to feel safer, as long as you are identified as “one in the group”, but also conservative when it comes to accepting change. Although threatened, these societies tend to bond together more quickly, but they can also be guilty of the worse types of ethnic abuse.

Historical examples could be the Armenian Holocaust in Turkey, or earlier bloodshed in the Balkans, and Rwandan events that generally do not occur in more modern multiethnic societies, which accept the differences in ideas and beliefs.

Recessions often create a more monocultural perspective in societies, where suddenly even in multicultural societies fault lines can appear – often in the guise of competition for jobs and economic rights. But despite economic difficulties, without the color, the music and the openness of a multicultural society, we would live in a very boring and limited world.

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