Monoculturalism is the policy or process of supporting, advocating, or allowing the expression of the
culture Culture () is an umbrella term which encompasses the social behavior and Norm (social), norms found in human Society, societies, as well as the knowledge, beliefs, arts, laws, Social norm, customs, capabilities, and habits of the individuals i ...

of a single social or
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
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 researchers feel that in certain multi-ethnic societies, dominant groups believe that their cultural practices are superior to those of minority groups, similar to the concept of
ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism in social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of b ...
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 Cultural diversity is the quality of diverse or different cultures, as opposed to monoculture In agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the ris ...
, is the opposite of
multiculturalism The term multiculturalism has a range of meanings within the contexts of sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the branch The branches and leaves of a tree. A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes r ...

. 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 Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

South Korea South Korea, officially the Republic of Korea (ROK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the southern part of the Korea, Korean Peninsula and sharing a Korean Demilitarized Zone, land border with North Korea. Its western border is for ...

South Korea
, and
North Korea North Korea, officially the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), is a country in East Asia, constituting the northern part of the Korean Peninsula. It borders China and Russia to the north, at the Yalu River, Yalu (Amnok) and Tu ...

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 Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic ( it, Repubblica Italiana, links=no ), is a country consisting of a peninsula delimited by the Alps The Alps ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps; sl, Alpe ) are the highest ...

Portugal Portugal, officially the Portuguese Republic ( pt, República Portuguesa, links=yes ), is a country A country is a distinct territorial body or political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who ...

Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country located in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 Voivodeships of Poland, administrative provinces, covering an area of , and has a largely Temperate climate, temperate seasonal cli ...

and the
Northern European Northern Europe is the northern region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia ...
countries are still effectively monocultural because of the shared ethnicity and culture of the people, along with low immigration rates.

Ethnocentric monoculturalism

Monoculturalism is closely associated with
ethnocentrism Ethnocentrism in social science Social science is the branch A branch ( or , ) or tree branch (sometimes referred to in botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of b ...
. 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.


In genocide

In many of the genocides practiced throughout history, some of them were based on ethnic supremacy. Ethnic supremacy is assumed by one group within a culture, following some distinct action by an external group or from one of the ethnic groups. With European intervention in places like Rwanda, social institutions worked to socially construct an ethnic inferiority, distinguishing the Hutus and Tutsis from one another and causing what would be one of the most horrific demonstrations of genocide in modern history. A similar example to that of the Rwandan genocide was the ongoing civil war in Burma. The civil war spanned from a constitution that granted Burma their independence from the British Empire in which a group of leaders created conditions that didn't involve many of Burma's Ethnic Minorities, and instigated a fight from them. Many of these ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Karen people, Karen, have been significantly displaced by the military junta and placed into refugee camps in bordering nations. The remaining ethnic minorities have been living in poor conditions, and have been met by a variety of human rights abuses.


Globalization involves the free movement of goods, capital, services, people, technology and information throughout the world. It also involves the international integration of potentially very different countries through the adoption of the same or similar world views, ideologies, and other aspects of culture. Marsella argues that this is monoculturalism on a grand scale.Marsella, Anthony (2005)
""Hegemonic" Globalization and Cultural Diversity: The Risks of Global Monoculturalism"
(PDF). ''Australian Mosaic''. Issue 11 Number 13: 15–16.
Potentially it could lead to the suppression and loss of different ethnic cultures on a global scale.

See also

* Criticism of multiculturalism * Cultural homogenization * Monoethnicity


Further reading

* * {{Ethnicity Ethnicity Ethnocentrism Cultural geography Cultural assimilation Sociology of culture