Assimilation is a process in which minority cultural groups within a majority culture come to reflect the majority group in their values, beliefs, and behaviors, while multiculturalism is a process in which the majority culture recognizes and accepts the cultural, ethnic, or racial differences and identities of minority groups due to their uniqueness.
Multiculturalism and assimilation are two different approaches adopted to achieve equality and social cohesion between minority and majority sociocultural groups. However, behind these two concepts lie two opposite ideologies.
What is assimilation?
Assimilation or cultural assimilation is the process in which minority or subcultural groups residing within the dominant political group begin to adapt and resemble the cultural behaviors, values, and beliefs of the dominant group. Furthermore, cultural assimilation is a concept quite similar to the acculturation process.
The process of cultural assimilation can take place as a sudden or gradual change depending on the social circumstances of the group.
However, complete cultural assimilation occurs when members belonging to subcultures become imperceptible to those of the majority cultural group.
It is important to note that cultural assimilation never promises social equality. For example, the different barriers placed between cultures (mainly by the dominant culture), such as geographical barriers, mean that subcultures never receive equal social treatment.
Furthermore, it is observed that cultural assimilation sometimes occurs spontaneously when a culture voluntarily and naturally acquires dominant cultural patterns. But sometimes, it is forcibly imposed on subcultures by the dominant culture.
What is multiculturalism?
Multiculturalism is a social process in which the dominant culture recognizes and accepts the cultural, ethnic or racial differences of minority groups.
This cultural recognition can occur in different ways: recognition of the cultural contributions of subcultures to the cultural life of the dominant political community, as a request for special legal protection for certain cultural groups, or as autonomous rights of government for specific cultures.
Multiculturalism is a consequence of the cultural pluralism that prevails in modern democracies. The most significant thing is that it is a way of returning previous discriminations, exclusions and oppressions to subcultural groups.
Most modern democratic societies include members with diverse cultural practices and points of view.
Many minority cultural and social groups were subjected to oppression and excluded from the majority society due to the misalignment of sociocultural identities in the past.
Multiculturalism emerged as a response to this problem and attempts to include the views and contributions of diverse sociocultural members of society while maintaining respect for their differences. Furthermore, multicultural societies do not require subcultures to assimilate into the dominant culture.
Difference between Assimilation and Multiculturalism In Tabular Form
|Assimilation is a social process in which minority groups or cultures within a majority culture come to reflect the majority group in their values, beliefs, and behaviors.
|Multiculturalism is a process in which a mainstream culture recognizes and accepts the cultural, ethnic, or racial differences of minority groups because of their uniqueness.
|It implies the reduction of differences.
|Recognize and value those differences.
|A dominant culture is visible within assimilation.
|In multiculturalism there is no dominant culture.
Similarities between assimilation and multiculturalism
- Multiculturalism and assimilation involve a majority/main culture and one or more minority cultures.
- Both are two different approaches that contribute to achieving equality and social cohesion between minority and majority sociocultural groups.
Difference between assimilation and multiculturalism
Assimilation is a social process in which minority groups or cultures within a majority culture come to reflect the majority group in their values, beliefs and behaviors,
while multiculturalism is a process in which a majority culture recognizes and accepts the cultural, ethnic or racial differences of minority groups due to their uniqueness.
While assimilation involves the reduction of differences, multiculturalism recognizes and values those differences.
In multiculturalism there is no dominant culture, but in assimilation a dominant culture is appreciated.
In short, assimilation requires that minority cultures within the dominant culture acquire the dominant cultural values, beliefs, and behaviors.
However, multiculturalism seeks sociocultural integration through the recognition and acceptance of the cultural, ethnic or racial differences and identities of minority groups.
This is the main difference between assimilation and multiculturalism. At a global level, we can observe how both processes, assimilation and multiculturalism, operate at different levels.