Understanding Cultural Diversity In Humans Sociology Essay (2023)

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The three branches of human sciences (Social sciences), Sociology, Anthropology and Psychology are interlinked in that they try to describe the different areas of human life and their relationships to each other. They offer an explanation on human behavior and in the society they live. Furthermore, these social sciences provide essential skills in analyzing the intentions and behavior of individuals and groups they encounter. Individual identity is forged by one’s culture, groups, and by institutional influences. Institutions such as families, schools and even churches greatly influence human beings yet these institutions are merely organizations whose aim is to develop the core social values of its constituents.

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In discussing cultural diversity on the perspectives of the three social sciences there is a need to understand the difference between culture and society. This is because the all the three disciplines explore culture and society to understand human behavior in depth. The term ‘Culture’ has many different meanings, for some it is the appreciation of art, literature, music and food, while for others like biologists; they take it as a colony of microorganisms growing in a nutrient medium in a laboratory. However for social scientists, culture is the full range of learned human behavior patterns. Cultures are traditions and customs, transmitted through learning and adaptations. Children obtain such traditions by growing up in a certain society, through a process called ‘enculturation’. A culture results into a degree of uniformity in behavior and thought among the inhabitants of a particular society (Baugher et. al, 2000, p. 4). The terms ‘culture’ and ‘society’ are different as cultures are considered to be complexes of learned behavior patterns and perceptions while society is a group of interacting organisms. Therefore this paper will critically analyze cultural diversity based on the three social sciences, evaluating the social sciences similarities and differences.


Anthropological perspective of culture diversity

When it comes to understanding diversity in cultures, the anthropological view can help humanity understand and appreciate the complexity of diverse cultures. This discipline involves the study of biological and cultural origins of the humans. The subject matter of anthropology is wide-ranging, including, fossil remains, non human primate anatomy and behavior, artifacts from past cultures, past and present languages, and all the prehistoric and contemporary cultures of the world.

The subfield of cultural anthropology is the most commonly studied and useful in analyzing and interpreting the diverse cultures of the world. In recent years, recognition of the need for multicultural awareness, understanding, and skills has grown in our society. The aim is to achieve multicultural diversity competence, which is a term that refers to the ability to demonstrate respect and understanding, to communicate effectively, and to work with different cultural backgrounds (George & Fischer, 1999, p. 71). These diversities in culture encompass differences in gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, sexual orientation, social class and physical appearance. Misunderstandings and conflicts in the society are two major consequences of lack of awareness in the ever increasing cultural diversity. Cultural anthropology explains cultural diversity through aspects of social life such as material culture, social organizations, politics, economics, symbolism, change and development, ethnicity and modern nation-state formation.

In explaining and interpreting the diverse cultures, anthropology uses ethnography- describing particular cultures; and ethnology- comparing two or more cultures. In addition it incorporates the holistic approach in cultural studies by studying biological and cultural aspects of human behavior; encompassing the broadest possible time frame by looking at contemporary, historic and prehistoric societies; examining human culture in every part of the world; and studies many different aspects of human culture (George & Fischer, 1999, p.68).

Cultural diversity is relevant to a cultural approach in learning, in that learning and motivational styles and cross cultural pedagogical strategies assume attention to diversity in learner populations and pluralistic learning outcomes. The data, concepts and insights derived from the study of other cultures helps us meet our professional goals and lead more satisfying lives in a multicultural society. Moreover, the process of studying anthropology is also valuable because of the skills and competencies that it helps to develop. Activities such as taking courses about different cultures, participating in local internships and international organizations, living in the university’s international dormitory, and participating in study abroad programs all combine to provide students with valuable skills in understanding diverse cultures hence achieve multicultural diverse competence.

(Video) How Culture Drives Behaviours | Julien S. Bourrelle | TEDxTrondheim

There is a need to come up with a strategy to accept cultural diversity, for example, in the United states of America the freedom to pursue ones individual dream and fortunes in the united states has produced a widening gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’. According to Hutnyk, 2006, managing directors in United States of America made forty times as much compared to the average worker in 1973 and three hundred as much in 2004. At the same time, earnings of middle class were growing slightly and those of lower class were actually shrinking. This situation to a European means that the state is working against well being of the population, particularly in light of tax cuts during this period. Another instance is when expressing feelings of affection which is typical for all human. The manner in which the affection is expressed is cultural, the kiss is not universally accepted as a symbol of affection; some societies consider it suggestive of cannibalism.

A basic anthropological strategy for understanding other cultures is to look at a cultural feature from within its original context rather than looking at it from the perspective of one’s own culture; being inquisitive, non-judgmental, and open to new ways of thinking is vital in understanding other cultures; Balancing contradictory needs instead of trying to eliminate them; emphasize global team work; develop a cognitive complex which is made up of twin abilities of differentiating and integrating; and developing a personal acuity (Naylor, 1997, p. 157). The strategy will not only help you personally in understanding other cultures but assist you in integrating to any culture globally.

Sociological perspective on Cultural Diversity

Sociology is critical analysis of the society in which humans live. People who make sense of the social world-past, present and future- are referred to as sociologists (Anderson & Taylor, 2005, p. 8). Sociologists research on social structures such as class, family, politics, social problems like drug abuse and crime all of which influence the society. Social interaction amongst humans is the basic sociological concept, because all humans and groups that make up a society socialize. Specialists who focus on particular details of specific interactions as they occur daily are called micro sociologists and those that focus on larger patterns of interactions amongst larger sections of the society such as state and economy are called macro sociologists.

A society is rarely culturally uniform hence the result of different cultures. As societies develop and become more complex, different cultural traditions appear. The more complex the society, the more likely the culture will be internally varied and diverse. The causes of cultural changes in a society are cultural diffusion, innovation, and imposition of cultural change by outside world (Anderson & Taylor, 2005, p. 72).

Two concepts from sociology help in understanding complexity of culture in a given society, dominant culture and subcultures. Dominant culture is the culture of the most powerful group in the society. Although it is not the only culture in society, it is commonly referred to be the culture of a society, despite other cultures present. Subcultures on the other hand are cultures of groups whose values and norms of behavior differ from those of the dominant culture. Members of subcultures tend to interact frequently and share a common world view.

Sociology stipulates that culture consists of both material objects and abstract thoughts and behavior. Several elements which sociologists consider in understanding culture diversity are language, norms, beliefs and values (Kaufman, 2004, p. 7).

Language: Learning the language of a culture is essential to becoming part of a society. Language shapes culture as it provides the categories through which social reality is understood. This was proved by Edward Sapir and his student Benjamin Worf in the 1950’s through their theory called the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis. The hypothesis states, “it is not that you perceive something first and then think of how to express it, but that language itself determines what you think and perceive” (Anderson & Taylor, 2005, p. 83). In understanding cultural diversity language is seen to reflect the assumptions of a culture. This is seen and exemplified by: language affecting people’s perception of reality; Language reflecting the social and political status of different groups in society; Groups advocating changing language referring to them as a way of asserting positive group identity; The implications of language emerging from specific historical and cultural contexts; language distorting actual group experience; language shaping people’s perceptions of groups and events in society.

(Video) What are Cultural Values?

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Norms: They are specific cultural expectations for how to behave in a given situation. Lack of norms in any society results in turmoil however, with established norms people would be able to act, behave and interact in a society properly. In the early years of sociology, William Graham Summer in 1906 identified two types of norms; folkways and mores. Folkways are general standards of behavior adhered to by a group, example wearing pants and not skirts for men. Mores are stricter mores which are seen to control moral and ethical behaviors such as injunctions, legal and religious.

Beliefs: They are shared ideas people hold collectively within a given culture, and these beliefs are also the basis of many cultural norms and values, example in USA there is a widespread belief in God. Sociology study belief in a variety of ways, and each theoretical mentation provides different insights into the significance of beliefs for human society.

(Video) What is cultural relativism?

Values: They are abstract standards in a society or group that defines the ideal principles of what is desirable and morally correct, for example in USA equality and freedom are important values which provide a general outline for behavior. Values provide values for behavior, but can also be sources of conflict like the political conflict over abortion.

Understanding the four elements of sociology enables proper integration in any society. Integration into the society is achieved by respecting the diverse cultures that are found in a society. Sociology studies culture in a variety of ways, asking numerous questions about the relationship of culture to other social institutions and the role of culture in modern life. The new cultural perspective on culture according to Naylor, 1997, is that it is ephemeral, unpredictable and constantly changing; is a material manifestation of consumer-oriented society; and is best understood by analyzing its artifacts- books, films, television images.

Psychological Perspective on Culture Diversity

Social psychology a subfield of psychology has its origins in the early years of the twentieth century. Its findings do not necessarily concern human thinking throughout history but rather meet the requirements of our modern society. Social psychology research aims to capture the interplay between social thinking and socio-historical dynamics in order to understand how societies function and how culture is produced (Xenia, 2004, p. 13). Psychology is distinguished from neighboring social sciences through its emphasis on studying samples of organisms within controlled settings rather than focusing upon larger groups, organizations or nations. Psychologists test the specific results of changes in a controlled environment on the individual in that environment, but there are strongly set procedures through which organisms are tested psychometrically.

There is a big debate in psychology and more generally in social sciences how to define culture. In some definitions the concept of culture includes behavior, in the sense that our behaviors are expressions of our culture. Other definitions emphasize that participating in a culture means having understanding of our world. However with trying to find a consensual definition of this concept, the main argument of researchers in psychology is to highlight how important it is to take into account the cultural context in which psychological studies were conducted (Kerr & Tindale, 2011). They were right to point out that humans are linked to the social context in which they live, proving that psychological functioning and human behavior are universal and culture specific.

Sharing a culture means that people have a common way of viewing their relationship with the social and physical environment; of communicating their thoughts and emotions; of prioritizing their activities; of dividing tasks and resources; of attributing values, honors, and power (Xenia, 2004, pp.17-18). When they do not share the above listed elements then culture diversity occurs from a psychological point of view. The people of diverse cultures are not like minded hence the question is, whether individuals from diverse cultures can coexist harmoniously in time space and under the same political and social organizations? The answer to this question provides the idea of how to cope with culture diversity.

Various cultures flourish from the recognition that they represent a set of beliefs, modes of thinking and practices that are peculiar to them and different from others. Some cultures are more inclusive example western cultures, others refer to a small group of people for instance the Basque culture, but each one of them is important for its members because they represent the way they construct their social reality, and provides them with action alternatives.


Culture Diversity has been discussed using the three social science disciplines of Anthropology, Sociology and Psychology. Even though all of them have a similarity of trying to understand culture diversity in humans, they are different in terms of how they approach the study. Anthropology looks at culture diversity at the perspective of humanity, his origin and through aspects of social life such as ethnicity, symbolism, politics, race and so on. Anthropology explains that the origin of culture diversity is through mankind hence the concentration a human perspective. Sociology looks at the society which humans live so as to explain culture diversity. It states that elements such as language, beliefs, norms, and values are what bring about culture diversities. Psychology on the other hand analyses culture diversity with focus entirely on internal factors that influence individuals. Therefore the three social sciences provide an understanding of culture diversity and a basis of respecting other cultures.

(Video) Cultures, Subcultures, and Countercultures: Crash Course Sociology #11

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What do you understand by cultural diversity essay? ›

Cultural Diversity Essay: Cultural diversity refers to the different forms of cultures co-existing in the same society. It is an aspect that opposes monoculture, which can lead to cultural decay. The existence of cultural diversity ensures respect for all the communities that exist in a single society.

What is cultural diversity according to sociology? ›

It's about inclusion regardless of race, gender, disability, religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. It encourages an environment that allows people from different backgrounds to reach their full potential.

How can we explain human cultural diversity? ›

“Cultural diversity” is the presence of various cultural and ethnic groups within a society. It's also called “multiculturalism.” Due to drivers like immigration and economic globalization, cultural diversity is a hot-button topic.

What is the importance of cultural diversity in sociology? ›

Cultural diversity supports the idea that every person can make a unique and positive contribution to the larger society because of, rather than in spite of, their differences.

What is your understanding of cultural diversity and how does it impact your life? ›

Cultural diversity helps people to acknowledge that the world comprises different types of people from different cultural settings. Cultural diversity helps promote respect for other people's cultures and learn how they function and live.

What is the importance of awareness and understanding of cultural diversity essay? ›

Cultural awareness helps us break down cultural barriers, build cultural bridges, and learn how to love, and appreciate those different from us. We can relate better to people with cultural differences as we begin to understand ourselves better. This results in more cultural connection and less cultural conflict.

What is an example of diversity in sociology? ›

Here's a breakdown of these forms of diversity:
  • Cultural diversity. This type of diversity is related to each person's ethnicity and it's usually the set of norms we get from the society we were raised in or our family's values. ...
  • Race diversity. ...
  • Religious diversity. ...
  • Age diversity. ...
  • Sex / Gender / Sexual orientation. ...
  • Disability.

How does diversity relate to sociology? ›

In the social sciences, sociology refers to the scientific study of different cultures. Diversity refers to variations, which in a society can involve people of different cultures, ethnicities, or classes.

How does cultural diversity affect society? ›

Not only does cultural diversity promote peace, but it also makes our society a more interesting place to live. Different cultures have their own beliefs and interests which they can share to offer alternative ways of doing things.

What is the relationship between humans and culture? ›

So, culture is almost all human actions in everyday life. The relationship between humans, society and culture is that humans or residents cause society and society to have their own culture. So that these three things cannot be separated from human life.

What do you think is the importance of understanding human cultural variation? ›

Often people are afraid that recognizing differences will divide people from each other. However, learning about cultural differences can actually bring people closer together, because it can reveal important parts of each other's lives. It can show us how much we have in common as human beings.

What is cultural diversity explain with examples? ›

Cultural diversity (also known as multiculturalism) is a group of diverse individuals from diverse cultures or societies. Usually, cultural diversity takes into account language, religion, race, sexual orientation, gender, age and ethnicity.

What are the three benefits of cultural diversity in the society? ›

Diverse cultural perspectives can inspire creativity and drive innovation. Local market knowledge and insight makes a business more competitive and profitable. Cultural sensitivity, insight, and local knowledge means higher quality, targeted marketing.

What is the impact of diversity to people's lives? ›

1) Diversity drives creativity and innovation

Every culture, every nationality, every single person sees the world in a different way. Similarly, every culture, nationality, and person has different knowledge, perspectives, and points of view. When all of these different views are shared together, miracles can happen.

How can you apply cultural diversity to your life? ›

How To Support Cultural Diversity
  1. Interact with people outside of your culture.
  2. Be open-minded to listen and let go of judgment.
  3. If you see anyone who is being culturally insensitive, speak out against it.
  4. Accept that differences are beneficial and not harmful.
  5. Don't force your beliefs on people with opposing views.

Why is important to understand cultural diversity both in our everyday lives and in the health field? ›

Cultural differences can be a source of frustration for both patients and healthcare professionals, and may result in poor health outcomes. By practicing cultural competence, you create situations that can improve health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and reduce overall frustration.

Why is cultural diversity important in a paragraph? ›

Cultural diversity lets us appreciate our differences. Different cultural groups have varying beliefs, customs, values, and a wide variety of characteristics that make them special. Cultural influences make people see the world differently and cultural diversity should be appreciated.

What is the importance of understanding of cultural diversity and communication? ›

Understanding diverse cultures can help you communicate more effectively in a variety of ways. For example, figurative language, pace, and presentation can all get influenced by cultural factors. Culture has an impact on how people express themselves through gestures and body language.

What is the importance of understanding cultural diversity in globalized society? ›

Cultural awareness allows us to respect various cultures. As a result, the people start supporting cultural differences and embrace new ways to get along in society. It helps people break down all the cultural barriers and integrate respectfully with diverse communities.

What is diversity in human society? ›

The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect for the full range of human characteristics in their socioecological, historical, and cultural contexts, as well as understanding that each individual, family, community, and societal group has uniqueness that make them different from others.

What is any one example of diversity in your society? ›

Examples of diversity include gender, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic, age, cultural, religious, and political diversity. Today, diversity is highly valued because it strengthens social groups. It strengthens a workplace because it casts a wide net of viewpoints to ensure the widest range of consumers will be targeted.

How does culture connect to sociology? ›

Because culture influences people's beliefs and behaviors, culture is a key concept to the sociological perspective. Many sociologists are wary of biological explanations of behavior, in part because these explanations implicitly support the status quo and may be used to justify claims of biological inferiority.

How do you embrace cultural diversity in society? ›

Being respectful is the key to adapting to a new, diverse environment. To prevent or resolve conflicts that may occur in any social interaction, you should maintain an attitude of respect for others, be open-minded and willing to compromise, and know how to work together calmly to resolve conflicts.

How does cultural diversity contribute to social and personal development? ›

Students who learn about different cultures during their education feel more comfortable and safe with these differences later in life. This allows them to interact in a wider range of social groups and feel more confident in themselves as well as in their interactions with others.

What impact does culture have on human interaction? ›

Culture can affect how people communicate in different ways. For example, it may affect communication styles in aspects such as phrases, words, gestures, and languages used. Culture can also affect how people deliver information and their attitudes towards conflict.

What causes human diversity? ›

In humans, the main cause is genetic drift. Serial founder effects and past small population size (increasing the likelihood of genetic drift) may have had an important influence in neutral differences between populations.

How does culture influence human personality? ›

Cultural factors are major environmental influences on personality. Different cultures place different values on different traits, and what is considered a positive trait in one culture may be negative in another, resulting in different personality expressions across countries.

What is cultural diversity in one sentence? ›

noun. the cultural variety and cultural differences that exist in the world, a society, or an institution: Dying languages and urbanization are threats to cultural diversity. the inclusion of diverse people in a group or organization: to embrace cultural diversity in the workplace.

What is the value of diversity in human rights? ›

Cultural diversity and human rights

The defence of cultural diversity is an ethical imperative, inseparable from respect for human dignity. It implies a commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular the rights of persons belonging to minorities and those of indigenous peoples.

What are 3 specific ways you can respect cultural diversity? ›

Respect for other cultures
  • Self-awareness. Begin awareness that your culture is no more valuable or correct than anyone else's. ...
  • Educate yourself. Expand your knowledge and cultural awareness by: ...
  • Engage. While you may tend to gravitate to people who share your culture. ...
  • Don't stereotype. ...
  • Appreciate the differences.
Mar 31, 2023

What is the importance of understanding culture and cultural diversity? ›

Understanding cultures will help us overcome and prevent racial and ethnic divisions. Racial and ethnic divisions result in misunderstandings, loss of opportunities, and sometimes violence.

What is an example of cultural diversity in the United States? ›

There are many examples of cultural diversity in the United States. Specific examples include the popularity of foods from different cultures such as Korean food, Chinese food, and Tex Mex.

What impact does diversity have on society? ›

1) Diversity drives creativity and innovation

Every culture, every nationality, every single person sees the world in a different way. Similarly, every culture, nationality, and person has different knowledge, perspectives, and points of view. When all of these different views are shared together, miracles can happen.

How do you embrace cultural diversity? ›

One of the best ways to embrace cultural differences is respecting your own culture and heritage. Work on your self-awareness. Everyone is unique and has their values, opinions and lifestyles. However, don't force others to adapt your thoughts, behaviour or lifestyle.

What is the purpose of a diversity essay? ›

A diversity essay is a college admissions essay that focuses on the applicant's background, identity, culture, beliefs, or relationship with a specific community, on what makes an applicant unique, and on how they might bring a fresh perspective or new insights to a school's student body.

What are the benefits of cultural diversity? ›

Working across cultures can be a truly enriching experiencing, allowing others to learn about perspectives and traditions from around the world. Bonding over similarities and differences can help you to become a global citizen, abandoning prejudices or an ethnocentric world view—something that is increasingly valuable.

Why is it important to value the culture of people different from me? ›

Learning about diverse cultures helps you realize that there are numerous approaches to life, and you may not be the best. Many times, interacting with people from different cultures helps you view life from a different perspective.

What is the importance of culture in understanding human behavior? ›

A broad understanding of cultural differences improves your ability to explain and predict the behaviours of groups of people who share similar life experiences. But no cultural group is homogenous. Individual members differ in their thoughts and behaviours.

What is an example of cultural diversity in society? ›

These include ethnic, national, racial, linguistic, religious and generational identities or affiliations. Differences in language, ethnicity, race, nationality, religion, social background and age can also manifest as different types of cultural diversity.


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