Wednesday, 4 March 2015

The -ism Series (20): Cultural Monism

Cultural monism is a "stance or viewpoint postulating that multiculturalism functions against social conformity and that minorities should thus be prompted to align with the superior culture" (via).

In general, two approaches to incorporating migrants are differentiated: a) multiculturalism or cultural pluralism and b) cultural uniformity, cultural assimilation or cultural monism.

Multicultural countries recognise cultural differences and sometimes promote them. Migrants are incorporated based on the concept of "jus soli", a civic-territorial conception of citizenship. Examples are Great Britain and the Netherlands where "collective claim makings by immigrants tend to be more focused on integration in the host country and on the extension of their collective rights." (Eggert & Pilati, 2007).

Assimilationist countries, such as France, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, however, ask immigrants to assimilate to the majority culture. Their approach to incorporating migrants is based on "jus sanguinis", an ethnic conception of citizenship. Here, "collective claim makings by migrants tend to focus on conditions of entry and stay and to be oriented toward their homeland." (Eggert & Pilati, 2007). Japan is an example for the principle of "jus sanguinis" (law of the blood, parentage, nationality, descent) since whether one has "Japanese blood" or not is a criterion for entitlement for privileges (Suzuki, 2009). Countries with "a more exclusive way of conceiving citizenship" rather exclude migrants from the majority community and make migrants develop less trust in the host country (Eggert & Pilati, 2007). Foreigners have difficulties to become citizens and their children born in the "new" home country do not automatically have the right to citizenship (Castles, 1995). Immigrants tend to be suppressed and to hide their ethnic origin. They cannot develop a "hyphenated identity" such as, for instance, "Korean-Japanese" in Japan as there is the binary approach of "Japanese or Alien" (Suzuki, 2009).

The photographs were taken by Howard Grey at Waterloo Station in June 1962. They document the "arrival of the last West Indian immigrants before the Commonwealth Immigrants Act of 1962 came into force". The "historic Windrush negatives" were found years after being taken.

Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962
1.1 Part I of the Commonwealth Immigrants Act 1962 provided that, with effect from 1 July 1962, citizens of Commonwealth countries, with certain exceptions, became subject to immigration control. Under s.12, which came into force on 31 May 1962, the period of ordinary residence prescribed for registration under s.6(1) of the BNA 1948 or s.3(2) of the BNA 1958 was increased from 1 to 5 years, and persons recommended for deportation lost their entitlement to registration under s.6(1) of the BNA 1948. (via)

- Castles, S. (1995) Multicultural Citizenship. Parliamentery Research Service, Research Paper, no. 16, via
- Eggert, N. & Pilati, K. (2007) Religious cleavages, organizations and the political participation of immigrants in Milan and Zurich. ECPR General Conference, Pisa, 6-8 September 2007
- Suzuki, K. (2009) Divided Fates: The State, Race, and Adaptation of Korean Immigrants in Japan and the United States. Paper no. 37
- photographs by Howard Grey (1962): more; via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via and via