Cultural Diversity – Concept, types, importance and examples

We explain what cultural diversity is, its types, its importance and various examples. Also, the cultural diversity in Mexico.

cultural diversity
The cultural diversity of humanity is one of its greatest virtues.

What is cultural diversity?

Cultural diversity or multiculturalism it is the harmonious and respectful coexistence of human groups from different cultural backgrounds, that is, from different ethnic, religious, linguistic and social backgrounds, within the framework of a dominant majority culture.

Cultural diversity is about understanding humanity as an immense set of cultures, each endowed with a historical context and a valuable tradition. That means not valuing one above the other nor does it pretend that some are more “advanced” and others more “backward”, but simply different.

This vision has gained ground in the 21st century in most modern Western democracies, whose population presents a significant margin of cultural and ethnic diversity, the result of their imperial and colonialist past.

On the other hand, the cultural diversity of humanity, that is, its gigantic abundance of cultural forms, is one of its greatest virtues, on which rests the possibility of an absolutely enriching exchange of knowledge and worldviews. This is because in cultural terms, as well as genetics, uniformity and homogeneity tend, in general, to impoverishment.

Importance of cultural diversity

Cultural diversity is a fundamental value in building a peaceful future for humanity. Most conflicts in history have not only an economic origin, but also a cultural one, so a perspective that celebrates diversity and difference can lead to a peaceful and democratic resolution to conflicts. Cultural diversity it is an indispensable feature of democratic life of the XXI century.

On the other hand, the recognition of the very diverse forms of culture of humanity can give us a truer measure of who we are and where we come from, and therefore what our future steps may be.

A society open to other languages, other religions, in short, other forms of society, will always be an avant-garde society, complex, vast, as was the heart of the empires of yesteryear, places in which vast and distant met cultural traditions.

Types of cultural diversity

cultural diversity types
The cultural diversity of a region can include one or more aspects of culture.

There are not really types of cultural diversity, but in this concept there is room for different forms of cultural expression that can also be very diverse, such as:

  • Linguistic diversity, which consists of the coexistence of different languages ​​and / or dialects within the same territorial unit.
  • Religious diversity, which consists of the practice of different religions and / or mystical or spiritual traditions within the same nation.
  • Ethnic diversity, which consists of the presence of different ethnic groups or peoples within the same country.

Examples of cultural diversity

The best examples of cultural diversity are the so-called “super diverse countries”, in which many different cultural trends coexist. Since cultural diversity is difficult to measure and quantify, it is often the number of languages ​​spoken is used as an indicator in a territory. In this sense, the main countries in terms of linguistic diversity are:

  • Papua New Guinea (820 different languages)
  • Indonesia (737 different languages)
  • Nigeria (510 different languages)
  • India (415 different languages)
  • Mexico (291 different languages)
  • Cameroon (279 different languages)
  • China (235 different languages)
  • Australia (231 different languages)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo (214 different languages)
  • Brazil (188 different languages)
  • Philippines (171)
  • Ecuador (120 different languages)

Cultural diversity in Mexico

cultural diversity mexico
The indigenous inhabitants represent a fifth of the total Mexican population.

The Mexican nation, considered one of the so-called “super diverse” countries, encompasses 68 different peoples of original roots, each with their respective language and traditions. Together they add up to a total of almost 12 million indigenous people, a fifth of the total Mexican population.

This gives it an extraordinary historical, religious and linguistic plurality, manifested in different popular and folk traditions, in a particular culinary wealth, and in a unique tourist potential in the region.

The growing importance of this diverse cultural legacy became evident in 2001, when Mexico signed the Unesco Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity. That same year, the Mexican Constitution was amended to, among other things, recognize the multicultural nature of the Mexican State.

Thus, the second article of the Constitution was the prelude to the entry into force of the General Law of Linguistic Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2003, through which the Education Law was amended to highlight the national value that constitutes its particular cultural heritage.