Façade diversity: the individualization of cultural difference
Links to Fileshttps://doi.org/10.1177/0268580908090727
MetadataShow full item record
Type of Work26 pages
DepartmentTowson University. Department of Anthropology, Sociology & Criminal Justice
Citation of Original PublicationBoli, John and Michael A. Elliott. 2008. "Façade diversity: The individualization of cultural difference." International Sociology 23(4). Retrieved October 11, 2021 (https://doi.org/10.1177/0268580908090727)
Diversity and multiculturalism are widely embraced principles, championed by many social movements and promoted through the programs and policies of states, businesses, schools and other organizations throughout the world. Purportedly celebrating and protecting group differences, these principles translate concretely into differences that operate as facades masking the underlying individualization of world society. Fundamental to this process is a dualistic globalization of the individual – both cultural and organizational – that impels the conscious construction of personal identities as both authentic and unique. Individuals therefore activate collective identity elements as sources of personal difference and distinctiveness. The nature of these collective identities is undergoing rapid change, however. The very forces impelling the championing of difference – rising individualism, egalitarianism, identity construction and uniqueness – diminish the degree of difference carried by collective identities, transforming corporate collectivities (once rooted firmly in geographic, ethnic, linguistic or ancestral ties) into categorical groups that pro- vide identity not as a transcendent group property but as a volitional characteristic of categories of individuals. Corporate identities may not disappear, but as they are transformed into categorical identities they become facades behind which the depth of differences among the world’s cultures and subcultures is diminishing rapidly.