Multiculturalism as political technology

Interethnic contradictions have accompanied international relations since ancient times. These problems compelled the rulers, keen on the conquests of remote territories, to overcome divisions into "their own" and "strangers" for greater stability of the imperial possessions. So, Alexander the Great, in addition to introducing a single currency and uniting the markets of Europe, Asia and Africa, encouraged inter-ethnic marriages between the Greeks and Persians, which to this day seem to be exceptions to the rules.

It took two millennia to build on the basis of the British Empire, which created resettlement colonies in North America, Australia and New Zealand, the idea of ​​merging peoples into a post-ethnic community found its practical application.

The United States, designed by the founding fathers in a universal manner, offered the world a new model of human coexistence, which in the century of nationalism (XIX century.) Seemed a utopia. Americans experienced what the English historian A. Toynbee called "a mirage of immortality", the conviction that "their state is the last form of human society". So it was with the Roman Empire, with the Abbasid caliphate, with the empire of the Great Moguls, with the Ottoman and British empires. Citizens of such universal states "completely disregarding the obvious facts: they tend to consider it not a haven for night in the desert, but a promised land, the goal of human aspirations."

At first, the young American state, consisting of immigrants, made a bet on the education system, whose goal was to educate Americans; schools specifically bought the US flag, on which students swore allegiance to the state. (It is no coincidence that in the middle of the 20th century the neo-Marxists will begin a "silent revolution" precisely with the education system.) Concerning the European waves of immigration, US President (1825-1829) JK Adams instructively pointed out that visitors should throw off European clothes and nevermore do not touch them.

With the development of capitalism, the urban culture of entertainment, called "mass culture", becomes a building material that unites the migrants of the United States (as well as Canada). However, the issue of ethnicity remained, as before, the cornerstone of the construction of public relations and the formation of American cultural identity. Over the years, it became more and more acute and contradictory: the political instability of the Old World, which caused massive immigration from the countries of Southern and Eastern Europe in 1880, swept America, reached its peak at 1914, forcing Congress to establish (in 1921) " ceiling "in 150 thousand immigrants annually.

At the turn of the XIX-XX centuries, the wave of racial and anti-immigrant violence stimulated the emergence of the concept of "melting pot" ("melting pot"), which later turned into the core of US cultural policy. Despite the fact that for the first time the idea was launched back in the 1780-ies. The actor St. John de Crewecker, stating that “representatives of all nations seem to fuse into a new race”, was influenced by the modern X-ray of the theory of the play “The melting pot” written by the British Jew Israel Zangvil.

The melting pot was the most ambiguous symbol of American society, of all that ever existed. On the one hand, he points to the main feature of modern American culture: its internal diversity and diversity, which can be said about American society as a whole. And on the other hand, this term embodies the directing current in the history of the formation of the multicultural society of the United States, separation from ethnic roots and immersion in a huge unifying multinational melting pot.

In 1915, H. Kollen (Kallen) develops the concept of "salad", which later calls the theory of "cultural pluralism". According to the theory, social groups are united by origin, not culture. At present, among scientists, the opinion is spreading that modern American society and, accordingly, its culture, is more a salad than a melting pot. This is an illustration of the fact that different cultures of America do not melt, becoming a single unified homogeneous culture, but enter into a cross-cultural dialogue, preserve their historical and cultural characteristics without synthesizing one another.

There is another model of American identity - “tomato soup”, which focuses on cultural assimilation and “based on the assumption that immigrants and their descendants adequately adapt to the Anglo-Saxon cultural patterns.” More accurate than the rest of the models, it worked perfectly with immigration waves before the 1960s.

These concepts, like many others, became a product of their time and were called upon to serve a certain political doctrine, after which the demand for them declined. Despite the adaptation and assimilation with the dominant value paradigm, the historical and cultural traditions within the ethnic communities were preserved so thoroughly that "alien" cultures could not dissolve to the end, becoming original centers of the cultural heritage of peoples.

To be continued.



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