Biculturalism in sociology involves two originally distinct cultures in some form of co-existence.

A policy recognizing, fostering or encouraging biculturalism typically emerges in countries that have emerged from a history of national or ethnic conflict in which neither side has gained complete victory. This condition usually arises as a consequence of settlement by colonists. Resulting conflicts may take place either between colonisers and indigenous peoples (as in Fiji) and/or between rival groups of colonisers (note the case of South Africa). A deliberate policy of biculturalism influences the structures and decisions of governments to ensure that they allocate political and economic power and influence equitably between people and/or groups identified with the opposite sides of the cultural divide.

Examples include the conflicts between Anglophone and Francophone Canadians, between Māori and Pākehā New Zealanders and between Anglophone White South Africans and Boers.

The term biculturalism was originally adopted in the Canadian context, most notably by the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism (1963-1969), which recommended that Canada become officially bilingual. Because the word "biculturalism" suggests, more or less explicitly, that only two cultures merit formal recognition, advocates of multiculturalism (for which it formed a precedent) may regard bicultural outlooks as inadequately progressive in comparison. This was the case in Canada were Ukrainian Canadians activists such as Jaroslav Rudnyckyj and Paul Yuzyk and other "third force" successfully pressured the Canadian government to adopt multiculturalism as official policy in 1971.

In the context of relations between the cultures of deafness and non-deafness, people find the word "biculturalism" less controversial because the distinction (between spoken language and sign language) commonly seems like a genuine binary distinction – transcending the distinctions between various spoken languages.

In the context of the United States of America, bicultural distinctions have traditionally existed between America and Mexico, and between the White and the African American population of the United States.

As different cases of biculturalism with some sort of formal recognition, note:

Biculturalism can also refer to individuals, refer to bicultural identity.

See also

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.