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Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity

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Published by Jamion Knight

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Published by: Jamion Knight on Oct 11, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Cultural diversity is the variety of human societies or cultures in a specific region, or country in the world. The great differences in the characteristics and attributes of social groups in the Caribbean. These stem from the traditions and activities of the different European powers that colonized the region.

The main factors that cause cultural diversity 

Geography. Relief or landscape, soils, resources affect economic activity. Economic activity affects settlement patterns and lifestyles. For example, coffee is grown in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica, coffee requires cool temperatures. Bananas and ground provisions are grown in the Windward Islands where there is fertile volcanic soil and abundant rainfall.


Trinidad produces petroleum products In the the Leeward Islands, tourism is a major industry due to the presence of white sand beaches). Coastal communities tend to engage in fishing. There is a difference between rural and urban lifestyles


Cultural diversify results mainly from historical factors. The plantation system caused the influx of Africans, Europeans, East Indians and Chinese into the region. These groups brought their cultural traits and values to the region. Racial mixing occurred ± whites and blacks (mulatto), black and Indians (dougla).

A cultural milieu evolved as the various groups adapted to their specific environment. Food, dance, language, and family all adapted to their specific setting. This resulted in the cultural variations of the region. In many instances, the cultural traits and values of different racial groups were combined to create a creole culture (creolisation)

Forms and expressions of diversity or Features of diversity   

Language ± what languages (dialects) are spoken in the region? Political systems ± what types of political systems do we have? Festivals ± what festivals do we celebrate in the region?

Race and Ethnicity ± ethnic groups in the region: Afro-Caribbean, White (Americans, Europeans, Syrians, Lebanese, Jews); Asians (Chinese, East Indians); Amerindians; Hispanics. Religions ± Christian, Islam, Hindu, Buddhism, Judaism, Caribbean Syncretic Religions (³Shouter Baptist´). N.B. (Denominations: Anglican, Moravian, Baptist, Church of God, Pentecostal etc). Food and culinary traditions.


Architecture ± variuos styles in the region based on British, French, Dutch traditions. Rural ± urban living


Race and ethnicity  

Race. The term used to describe one population from another of the same subspecies. It is based on visible aspects such as skin colour, facial features, etc. Races are populations that may be distinguished by appearance. Races are not species; they are able to interbreed, and are fertile when they do. (Eysenck, 1971)


Ethnicity: A group s cultural links with an ancestral past. Identification with a certain group based on cultural and historical traditions, language, and religion. Ethnic group: A human population whose members identify with each other based on a common genealogy or ancestry. It is identified by certain common cultural behaviours e.g. religion, food, dress, language, etc. .

Race is rooted in the idea of a biological classification, ethnicity is rooted in the idea of social groups. In recent times, the terms population and ethnicity are used instead of race 


Positive Effects of Cultural Diversity. 

Cultural variations attract tourist Encourage cultural retention Adapting to and accommodating cultural differences (tolerance) New forms of culture are developed syncretism (the combination of different systems of philosophical or religious belief or practice), hybridization (mixing of the races), cross-overs .

Facilitate better understanding of each other and ourselves Enable development of craft, agricultural and music industry e.g. Japanese have developed a love for Jamaican coffee and sea island cotton.


Negative Effects of Cultural Diversity. Discontent in society Discrimination Ethnic clashes. Division ± ethnic differences are used to as the basis for stratification and social mobility. Identity crisis ± the offspring of mixed unions are neither of one ethnic group or the next.





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