Monoculturalism is the policy or process of supporting, advocating, or allowing the expression of the culture of a single social or ethnic group in a specific area. Monoculturalism is both backward and forward looking, it generally stems from a group’s love of their own culture and wanting to protect their forefather’s legacy for their children. It therefore is often aimed at the maximisation of a group’s own long term interests; and may be a way to deal with societal stress due to: modes of alienation, social and economic deprivation or political oppression.
However, some researchs feel that in certain multi-etnic societies dominant groups believe that their cultural practices are superior to those of minority groups, similar to the concept of ethnocentrism which involves judging another culture, based on the values and standards of one’s own culture. It may also involve the process of assimilation whereby other ethnic groups are expected to adopt the culture and practices of the dominant ethnic group. Monoculturalism, in the context of cultural diversity, is the opposite of multiculturalism.
Rather than the suppression of different ethnic groups within a given society, sometimes monoculturalism manifests as the active preservation of a country’s national culture via the exclusion of external influences. Japan, South Korea, and North Korea are examples of this form of monoculturalism. However it may also be the result of less intentional factors such as geographic isolation, historical racial homogeneity, or political isolation. For instance, some European countries such as Italy, Portugal, Poland and the Northern European countries are still effectively monocultural because of the shared ethnicity and culture of the people, along with low immigration rates.
Monoculturalism is closely associated with ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is the practice of framing one’s way of life as natural and valid, and applying that belief system to interpret the characteristics of other cultures.
The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology, of political philosophy, and of colloquial use. In sociology and in everyday usage, it is a synonym for “ethnic pluralism“, with the two terms often used interchangeably, for example, a cultural pluralism in which various ethnic groups collaborate and enter into a dialogue with one another without having to sacrifice their particular identities. It can describe a mixed ethnic community area where multiple cultural traditions exist (such as New York City or Trieste) or a single country within which they do (such as Switzerland, Belgium or Russia). Groups associated with an indigenous, aboriginal or autochthonous ethnic group and settler-descended ethnic groups are often the focus.
In reference to sociology, multiculturalism is the end-state of either a natural or artificial process (for example: legally-controlled immigration) and occurs on either a large national scale or on a smaller scale within a nation’s communities. On a smaller scale this can occur artificially when a jurisdiction is established or expanded by amalgamating areas with two or more different cultures (e.g. French Canada and English Canada). On a large scale, it can occur as a result of either legal or illegal migration to and from different jurisdictions around the world.
In reference to political science, multiculturalism can be defined as a state’s capacity to effectively and efficiently deal with cultural plurality within its sovereign borders. Multiculturalism as a political philosophy involves ideologies and policies which vary widely. It has been described as a “salad bowl” and as a “cultural mosaic“, in contrast to a “melting pot“.
Multiculturalism in Scandinavia has centered on discussions about marriage, dress, religious schools, Muslim funeral rites and gender equality. Forced marriages have been widely debated in Denmark, Sweden and Norway but the countries differ in policy and responses by authorities.
Despite differing approaches by the three countries with Sweden being the most permissive and Denmark the most restrictive.
A 2018 study found that increases in local ethnic diversity in Denmark caused “rightward shifts in election outcomes by shifting electoral support away from traditional “big government” left‐wing parties and towards anti‐immigrant nationalist parties.”
For decades, Danish immigration and integration policy was built upon the assumption that with the right kind of help, immigrants and their descendants will eventually tend to the same levels of education and employments as Danes. This assumption was disproved by a 2019 report by the Danish Immigration Service and the Ministry of Education. The report found that while the second generation non-Western immigrants do better than the first generation, the third generation of immigrants with non-Western background do no better education and employment wise than the second generation. One of the reasons was that second generation immigrants from non-Western countries marry someone from their country of origin and so Danish is not spoken at home which disadvantages children in school. Thereby the process of integration has to start from the beginning for each generation.