Bunce, John A. (2021):
"Cultural Diversity in Unequal Societies Sustained through Cross-Cultural Competence and Identity Valuation." Humanities and Social Sciences Communications 8.1238.
Journal Article

In much contemporary political discourse, valued cultural characteristics are threatened by interaction with culturally distinct others, such as immigrants or a hegemonic majority. Such interaction often fosters cross-cultural competence (CCC), the ability to interact successfully across cultural boundaries. However, most theories of cultural dynamics ignore CCC, making cultural diversity incompatible with mutually beneficial inter-group interaction, and contributing to fears of cultural loss. Here, interview-based field methods at an Amazonian ethnic boundary demonstrate the prevalence of CCC. These data motivate a new theoretical mathematical model, incorporating competing developmental paths to CCC and group identity valuation, that illuminates how a common strategy of disempowered minorities can counter-intuitively sustain cultural diversity within a single generation: Given strong group identity, minorities in a structurally unequal, integrative society can maintain their distinctive cultural norms by learning those of the majority. Furthermore, rather than a rejection of, or threat to, majority culture, the valuation of a distinctive minority identity can characterize CCC individuals committed to extensive, mutually beneficial engagement with the majority as members of an integrative, multi-cultural society.