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Cultural pluralism is a term used when smaller groups within a larger society maintain their unique cultural identities, and whose values and practices are accepted by the wider culture.

One example is Lebanonmarker where 18 different religious communities co-exist on a land of 10,452 kmĀ². In a pluralist culture, unique groups not only co-exist side by side, but also consider qualities of other groups as traits worth having in the dominant culture.

The current contemporary art world in the 21st century is an example of cultural pluralism. For another example, a community center in the United States may offer classes in Indian yoga, Chinese calligraphy, and Latin salsa dancing. That community may also have one or more synagogues, mosques, mandirs, gurudwaras, and/or Buddhist temples, as well as several churches of various Christian denominations.

The existence of such institutions and practices are possible if the cultural communities responsible for them are protected by law and/or accepted by the larger society in a pluralist culture.

The idea of cultural pluralism in America has its roots in the transcendentalist movement and was developed by pragmatist philosophers such as William James and John Dewey, and later thinkers such as Horace Kallen and Randolph Bourne. One of the most famous articulations of cultural pluralistic ideas can be found in Bourne's 1916 essay "Trans-National America" .


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