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Is Culture a Unifying or a Divisive Force?

Culture is one of the main features, which makes people different. This difference may be of two natures: a unifying and a divisive, what depends of different factors and social processes which occur in the society. Different countries have different national peculiarities, according to which people differ, but these differences should not be the reasons for divisive attitude of one nation against the other. Every culture has its own peculiarities, but these different features should first of all unite people in the sense that opportunities to understand the other culture should serve as the adhesive factor in the relation between cultures.

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Samuel Phillips Huntington is sure that Western civilization will always be dominant in the questions of culture, so it is impossible to dwell upon the possibility of unifying aspects. He says that West domination is one of the aspects of its cultural impact on other countries. As every country wants to be independent in the questions of culture, so they are not satisfied with Western domination. The problem is that West comprises powerful, in different aspects, countries and the other countries’ disobedience, which arises, does not fit their plans. “The West is attempting and will continue to attempt to sustain its preeminent position and defend its interests by defining its interests as the interests of the world community” (Huntington). Considering the modern situation in the world, the racial and ethical conflicts fulfill the society. Multiethnic countries are busy with these conflicts every day, and it seems no end to cultural wars. There are a lot of problems in Iraq, Nigeria, Sri Lanka and other countries. The problem of multiethnic conflict did not avoid such developed countries as France, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium and others (Schlesinger, 1991). These multiethnic conflicts divide countries, break up nations. Watching news we may be frightened by the amount of conflicts which appear no the ethnic ground. The reasons are that people want to have their own culture and do not want to be assimilated to the culture of the country they live in. Considering all these aspects it seems impossible to state that culture unites people, vice versa, it seems that it divides country more, that divisive force is one of the main aims of the culture. It seems so from the first sight, but considering the problem deeper we shall see the opposite opinion.

Education is one of the reasons for people unifying within one culture. In the Bourchard’s book we read that education “plays a vital role in learning to live together through the progressive discovery of others, their culture and spirituality, and through involvement in common projects” (Bourchard, p.60). It is impossible to be regarded as educated person if the only one culture was studied, and the peculiarities of other nations were omitted. All ethical and religious programs teach students to live together peacefully, without conflicts and wars. The very educational process comprises the programs where students are taught to live and work together, they are taught to respect the culture of other students and to support others in their desire to study (Bourchard). Reading Gould’s article (2008) it is understandable that books are the main representatives of the culture. Gould emphasizes his experience in being taught the culture through the books, Arab folklore in this case. People often do not understand the Arabian culture, and the political life confirms it, and it is naturally, as there are more that twenty countries which are supposed to Arabian. The books which dwell upon the peculiarities of the Arabian culture are the main sources in understanding Arabian culture and unifying with it. (Gould, 2008) The book by Bourchard gives such a great quote, which summarizes all what was said above, “It is pedagogically desirable to facilitate students’ understanding of the world by not putting up barriers between worlds that, although specific, may be complementary” (Bourchard, p. 62). So, education unites people. There are a lot of international Universities where students from different countries get their education. People of different nationalities live in one rooms, they sit in similar classrooms and sometimes at one desk. Is it not the proof of cultural unifying function of education? My strong consideration that it is!

There are some countries which do their best in uniting different nationalities under one culture in the measures of one state. There are some features which are similar for all cultures in the world, “all cook food and have inscribed ritual behavior” (Richardson, 2001, p.7), so there are no reasons to treat this or that culture better or worth. It is people who want either to unite or to argument in divide nationalities, not cultures. The United States of America is the multinational country, where some conflicts among different cultures occur rather frequently. The USA decided to provide some new strategy: the government announces about the creation of absolutely new national identity, Americans. People are not limited in their own likes about this or that national culture, but all people who live on the territory of the United States are Americans and they should be proud of this name. The aim of appearance of this artificial nationality is to unite people of different nations inside one country and to reduce the conflicts between different national groups. (Schlesinger, 1991) Clementon (2004) in his article shows the examples when people of different nations call themselves American and they are really proud of it, as they feel themselves a part of great nation. Mr. Coury, who is 20, said that he was distinguished as American till he had not said about his Arabian appearance. He is Arab Americans and this culture unification makes him proud about the country he was born and lives now more. (Clementon, 2004) All these facts confirm that there is nothing divisive in the culture, vice versa, the example of American nation confirms that culture unites people of different nationalities.

In conclusion, culture is unifying, and the above reasons do not give any confirmation about the divisive nature of the culture. Culture is what distinguishes people, but it is not the same with divisive nature of the culture which some people want it to be. People are different, their ethnical appearance and cultural belonging is not the reason for wars. Education, books, state policy are all reasons for people of different nations to unite. Culture cannot be named the dividing factor as it is aimed to unite. People are those factors who want to call culture as divisive, but it is not so, and the modern life confirms it. The people’s desire to get more information about the other cultures argument in favor of culture as unifying factor of the different nationalities.

Reference List

  1. Bourchard, N. Living together with differences: Quebec’s new ethics and religious culture program. Canadian Education Association.
  2. Clementon, L. (2004). Some Younger U.S. Arabs Reassert Ethnicity. The New York Times. Online. Web.
  3. Gould, M, R. (2008) Arab Folklore: A Handbook. Voices. 34, ¾. Academic Research Library Huntington, S.P. The West and the Rest: Intercivilizational Issues.
  4. Richardson, M. (2001). Experience of Culture. Sage Publications, Incorporated.
  5. Schlesinger, A. (1991). The Cult of Ethnicity, Good and Bad. Time. Web.

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"Is Culture a Unifying or a Divisive Force?" StudyCorgi, 31 Oct. 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Is Culture a Unifying or a Divisive Force?" October 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Is Culture a Unifying or a Divisive Force?" October 31, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Is Culture a Unifying or a Divisive Force'. 31 October.

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