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Interculturalism is the philosophy of exchanges between cultural groups within a society.

Various states have intercultural policies which seek to encourage the socialization of citizens of different origins. These policies are often ostensibly used as an instrument to fight racism.

Interculturalism requires an inherent openness to be exposed to the culture of the "other". Once a person is exposed to an element of a different culture, a dialogue will ensue, where everyone embarks upon understanding the culture of the other, and usually this involves comparisons. Thus, interculturalism breeds dialogue, in order to be able to look for commonalities between that element of one's culture and the culture of the other.

Interculturalism seeks to enhance fusion by looking for commonalities. Hence, various cultures merge. The differences that remain make up the subcultures of the world.

[edit] Interculturalism vs Multiculturalism

Within a country, a distinction can be drawn between interculturalism and multiculturalism. Indeed, multiculturalism is the ideology that postulates that all cultures and civilizations are of equal value and should be treated and promoted equally within the same nation. It is often confused with political pluralism, and with ethnic and linguistic diversity, or with interculturalism.

Interculturalism is a political ideology that does not place a priority for all cultures to be on the same level as a basis to organize a given society. Its main objective is rather to develop a common civic culture based on the values of freedom and liberty, and of human rights, as derived from the Western civilization, while encouraging interaction between the communities living in the same country. As such, Interculturalism requries democracy and full respect for universal human rights (whereas multiculturalism explicitly doesn't know this requirement).

Interculturalism promotes individual rights for everyone, with no discrimination. This means, in particular, that people have the right to maintain an affiliation with one's ethnic group and the right for cultural and religious differences to be displayed in the public domain. However, the entire society must adhere to the same constitution of fundamental rights and obligations, with no exception. It does not accept that cultural differences are used as an excuse to reduce the rights of certain groups. This approach leads to an ethics of maximum tolerance for an individual's choices and of minimum tolerance for totalitarian and theocratic systems of ideas that could undermine the very foundations of a democratic society.

[edit] See also

[edit] Further reading

  • Open secularism, interculturalism, the fight against discrimination and guidelines for accommodation -- Bouchard-Taylor Commission
  • Bennett, Milton J. (1998) Basic Concepts of Intercultural Communication. Intercultural Press, Boston, MA.
  • Kohls, L. Robert; Knight, John M. (1994). Developing Intercultural Awareness. Intercultural Press, Boston, MA.
  • Storti, Craig. (1994). Cross- Cultural Dialogues. Intercultural Press, Boston, MA.

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