Homogeneous vs. Heterogeneous Societies (Problems of a Heterogeneous Society)
Why am I posting this?
This is a free response essay I wrote in 2006 for a grade 12 politics class. We were instructed to write a response to a question that our teacher wrote on the board. I forget what that question was. Cased on the conclusion, I believe that the question had to do with the Treaty of Westphalia. When writing an essay or an assignment for school the hardest part for me was figuring out where to start. I believe that getting a few ideas by seeing examples and reading other peoples essay's always helped me figure out how I would write my own essay and how to get started. That is why I decided to share my essay with all of you.
Tell me what you think? You don't have to agree with what I wrote.
One of the obvious characteristics of the “new world order” in the opening decade of the 21st century is the evident migration of non-western people to the western world. Countries such as Canada and the United States are regarded as heterogeneous societies, a society that reflects a vast diversity of cultures, racial groups and religions. Heterogeneous societies must take into account the needs and beliefs of the diverse components in their societies. People voluntarily migrate to the west for various reasons and immigration to the western world is regarded as a privilege not a right. The establishment of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and religiously diverse heterogeneous societies may pose a threat to the traditional socio-political cohesiveness of the nation-state and may lead to its political destabilization, social disintegration and territorial fragmentation.
Political destabilization appears to be greater throughout the world in countries with rapid growing populations than in those with slowly growing populations. Rapid growth of population creates great political tensions, even more so when there are distinct ethnic/religious divisions. Japan is an example of a politically stable nation. Japan’s homogeneous society does not create any political destabilization for the country because as a homogeneous country all citizens are of the same nature (ethnicity, culture and religion/beliefs). On the other hand, North America’s heterogeneous society can possibly cause political destabilization in the country. An example of such a case is the recent requests by a group of Muslims to introduce the “Sharia” (Arabic word for Islamic law) law as legislation in Ontario, Canada under which all Muslims must abide by. This is a very controversial issue because there are two distinct groups with strong opinions regarding this issue, those who are in favor and those who oppose the Sharia law. The Sharia law violates fundamental rights in the Canadian constitution for equal treatment. Under some interpretations of Sharia law, a Muslim husband has the right to beat his wife if she does not obey him and a woman who is raped is guilty for tempting the man. These laws infringe on the beliefs of others. It is due to Canada’s heterogeneous society that accepts and embraces most of the cultural and religious beliefs and practices of the diverse components in its society that makes Canada very vulnerable to political destabilization.
Heterogeneous societies face the problem of social disintegration in their societies. It becomes increasingly difficult to regulate ethnic/cultural/religious conflicts through political, socialization and law-enforcing institute in a heterogeneous society. Such is the case in Canada where violent rally’s and activism take place between the Jewish and Muslim communities. Concordia University in Montreal has become a hotbed for the pro-Palestinian vs. pro-Israel violent activism. In 2003 a violent protest by pro-Palestine students broke out to keep former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from speaking at Concordia University. Retaliations have since taken place in Canada, where Jewish groups attacked the Palestinian House in Ontario. In response to the attack to the Palestinian House in Ontario more than a thousand activists joined demonstration in Montreal which started from McGill University and marched to the Israeli and the American Consulates. Activist burned the Israeli flag and chanted against the aggression of Israel against Palestinians. What has come to be known as the “War on Campus” in Concordia is a prime example of the social disintegration that could possibly happen in Canada due to its heterogeneous societal structure. Conflicts between ethnicities and religions could grow to an uncontrollable stage for Canada and the United States which could ultimately lead to the social disintegration of these nations.
Over the course of history heterogeneous countries have witnessed the territorial fragmentation of their nation. One of the more obvious examples of such a situation is that of the Treaty of Westphalia which marked the start of the modern system of nation-states, a political unit consisting of a state inhabited predominantly by a common people (share a common culture, history, and language). In the case of much of Western Europe, the original state was the Roman Empire. The nation-states that now occupy Western Europe have gained their independence and are centrally controlled and recognized as independent states. With so many diverse components in North America’s heterogeneous society will the same happen to Canada and the US? Canada is already facing separatism movements by the province of Quebec, could another distinct group in Canada who has migrated from non-western countries start a separatism movement? That is a threat that the heterogeneous make up of Canada’s society poses to Canada’s territory.
The establishment of multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and religiously diverse heterogeneous societies may lead to its political destabilization through the importation of cultural and religious beliefs and practices, social disintegration through the potential conflicts of distinct ethnic and religious groups in the nation and territorial fragmentation through the possible separatism movements of distinct groups. It is possible that the international state system that has been established since the Treaty of Westphalia may disappear all together, however it is not foreseeable that the international state system will disintegrate any time in the near future.