Importance of Cultural Integration in Society

Essay add: 30-09-2015, 19:00   /   Views: 2 598
Importance of Cultural Integration in Society

Cultural Integration is when material and non-material culture become interrelated. Material culture includes aspects like technology of a society. Non-material culture includes things like norms and values of a society. In cultural integration, both material and non-material culture impact each other. For example, some culture’s religion influence what individuals wear in that particular society. In some middle-eastern religions, women are required to wear veils over their face at all times. Veils would be an example of material culture, while religion is a form of non-material culture.

Cultural Integration is important because it maintains a unity and a certain balance in a particular society. Also, cultural integration helps keep a society together, so all can share the same beliefs and values in a social system. Therefore, it helps to reduce conflict in a society where cultural integration is present. If all parts of a society are linked together, it becomes more homogeneous, which affects the amount of conflict present.

Functionalist thought is a general consensus that socialization helps integrate people of a society. Everyone in that particular society follows the rules of that culture. These rules can be described as an invisible agreement, which is put forth by the culture in which the society follows or practices. Functionalism believes that cultural integration has a special purpose in a society. Its purpose is to join people of a society into a common bond. It draws the people into a similar way of thinking. Functionalist thought believes that cultural integration is directly responsible for the amount of deviance in a society. If people are culturally integrated and share the same beliefs and values, then the amount of deviance must be low, compared to a society that is not integrated. In conclusion, functionalism maintains a special purpose for cultural integration in a society. That purpose is to keep the people of that society on the same page, and therefore the society will be held together in a common bond.

Conflict theory basically states that socialization helps maintain a certain inequality in society. Every society contains groups inside, and each group has their own culture in order to cater to their particular interests. According to conflict theory, a dominant group will reign over all the other groups in society. This dominant group is the most powerful in that society, and will try to impose their culture onto the inferior groups beneath them. The dominant culture thinks that the other cultures are a threat, and that’s why it tries to impose their values and beliefs onto those less powerful cultures. Therefore, conflict theorists would argue that cultural integration is used by the dominant culture to impose things like its values, beliefs, and technology onto a lesser culture. To them, cultural integration is a tool to maintain inequality among groups in a society.

In conclusion, we can see that functionalism and conflict theory contain two opposite views of what cultural integration means to a society. Functionalism perceives that cultural integration keeps a society homogeneous, so the people of that society can act as a whole using the same beliefs and values. On the other hand, conflict theory puts forth the idea that cultural integration is used to maintain inequality in a society. The inequality is needed to break up the society into different sub-cultures, with one culture being dominant and trying to infuse its beliefs onto the other cultures. As we can see, functionalism believes in equality, while conflict theory deals with inequality.

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