What is Pluralism?
Defined simply, pluralism is an ethic of respect for diversity. Whereas diversity is a fact, pluralism is a choice. Pluralism results from the daily decisions taken by state institutions, by civil society actors and associations and by individuals to recognize and value human differences.
Pluralist societies are not accidents of history. They require continuous investment and decision-making across many different sectors — economic, political and social. Although every society must define its own path, comparative experiences can be studied to better understand different possible outcomes.
Compromise is Essential
In diverse societies, people with different identities and multiple viewpoints must find ways to live together. The work of pluralism is to find a balance between competing values and then to live with the results. Institutional mechanisms help to choose between competing values, but pluralism is not created by institutions alone. The content of those choices is important. Without the right “software,” the “hardware” (institutions) of pluralism will not work.
Recognition is the Baseline,
Belonging is the Goal
Belonging is supported by decisions made in every domain of society — economic, political, social — about how to treat people who are different from ourselves. These decisions stem from empathy for other perspectives and experiences. Pluralism seeks to bridge rather than erase human differences and in this way fosters belonging.
Learn about the Centre’s approach to diversity and our major publication series.
Research and Analysis
Increasing understanding about what drives some societies toward greater pluralism while other fracture and fragment.
Applying a pluralism lens to the various fields of practice that advocate respect for diversity.
History and Memory
Supporting societies in their efforts to build inclusive historical narratives that reflect their country’s diversity.
Transmitting norms and attitudes that shape how we perceive and respond to difference.
Recognizing those working to promote more diverse, inclusive societies around the world.