Polyculturalism is an ideological approach to the consequences of intercultural engagements within a geographical area which emphasises similarities between, and the enduring interconnectedness of, groups which self-identify as distinct, thus blurring the boundaries which may be perceived by members of those groups.
The concept of polyculturalism was first proposed by Robin Kelley and Vijay Prashad. It differs from multiculturalism which instead emphasises the separateness of the identities of self-identifying cultural groups with an aim of preserving and celebrating their differences in spite of interactions between them. Supporters of polyculturalism oppose multiculturalism, arguing that the latter's emphasis on difference and separateness is divisive and harmful to social cohesion.
Like advocates of multiculturalism, proponents of polyculturalism encourage individuals to learn about different cultures, especially those they may come into contact with in their own areas. However whereas multiculturalism advocates for toleration between members of distinctly different cultures groups, polyculturalism is less rigid and acknowledges that individual shape their own identities and may choose to change so as to express their culture in a different way to their own ancestors, either by adding elements of other cultures to it or by eliminating aspects of it.
Polyculturalism rejects the concept of race as a social construct with no scientific basis, however it recognises the concept of ethnicity, considering ethno-nationalism a barrier which must be transcended in the pursuit of a dynamic community culture.
The following table presents an overview of some ideologies.
|Existence of different races||Denies||Affirms||Denies||Affirms||Affirms|||
|Attitude toward many races within a region||Ignores||Supportive||Ignores||Supportive||Opposed|
|Attitude toward many races globally||Ignores||Supportive||Ignores||Supportive||Supportive|
|Attitude toward miscegenation||Ignores||Generally supportive||Ignores||Generally supportive||Opposed|
|Existence of different cultures||Affirms||Affirms||Affirms||Affirms||Affirms|
|Attitude toward many cultures within a region||Supportive to
|Attitude toward many cultures globally||Supportive to
|Attitude toward the cultural assimilation of migrants||Supportive to
|Attitude toward cultural preservation||Opposed||Supportive||Opposed||Supportive||Supportive|
|Existence of different ethnicities||Affirms||Affirms||Denies||Affirms||Affirms|||
|Attitude towards many ethnicities within a region||Supportive||Supportive||Ignores||Varies||Varies by race|
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