Cultural diversity in a democratic society
This article examines the impact of cultural diversity on national cultural institutions. It considers whether, long used to defending a particular set of cultural values, they can transform themselves into defenders of democratic cultural participation.
It is possible to see the growing cultural diversity of European states not as the loss of a golden age of social cohesion, but as the normalisation, in world terms, of societies that experienced a historically short period of apparent unity achieved through massive loss of life, displacement and ‘ethnic cleansing’. If the relative ethnic and cultural homogeneity of mid-20th century Western Europe was no more than a temporary abnormality, in historic and global terms, there are important consequences for how the societies concerned should adapt to their changing circumstances.