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"Global civilization could never be anything other than the coalition at global levels of cultures, each of them retaining its originality" (Claude Lévi-Strauss)
Collective Cultural Heritage
When cultural heritage is discussed, it is understood that what is inherited from previous generations is that culture's legacy. Often legacies are identified and preserved because they identify who a people are. Cultural heritage can be identified as artifacts, archaeological sites, buildings, graves, monuments, and significant landscapes. Other objects that identify cultural heritage are ceremonies, music, arts and crafts, beliefs, traditions and customs. Most governments recognized the importance for communities to preserve and to celebrate their heritages and these governments have passed laws to protect them as "cultural resources" ("What is cultural," 2010).
When contemplating the past, present and future, it is important to understand that all three of these perspectives need to be focused on at the same time and that the appreciation of cultural heritage reaches beyond popular expressions and stays viable for future generations. President Lyndon B. Johnson declared, while signing the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965", ... it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves, and to others, the inner vision which guides us as a nation and where there is no vision, the people perish" (Larson, 1997).
Communication and active participation are key to generating participation from different cultural groups. This train of thought can help societies deal with multiculturalism by enabling an atmosphere which helps to build confidence within a diverse community. National government policies should avoid not integrating cultural identities and they should also avoid forcing the acceptance of a specific cultural identity. Governmental policies should promote cultural understanding and tolerance in an attempt build common bonds of respect from multiple identities that may reside within a community (Helms, 2006).
Michèle Garzon poetically explains that to promote shared humanity, we have to acknowledge and promote cultural pluralism. He goes on to explain that diversity is nonexistent without culture; there can be no diversity without cultural depth and that without diversity there would only be multiplicity. For diversity to work, there must be unity and an understanding of the whole of what cultural differences entail. Culture is diversity, infinite in its distinctions and nuances; a return to everything that exists to make it both new and the same. Garzon reminds us that it is the men and the women that make a civilization, its culture and its spirit (Garzon, 2002).
Garzon, M. (2002). Cultural diversity: common heritage, plural identities. Retrieved from
Helms, M. (2006). International cultural differences. Retrieved from
Larson, G. (1997). Transmitting our cultural legacy. Retrieved from http://www.nea.gov/pub/AmCan/Chapter2.pdf
What is cultural heritage?. (2010). Retrieved from http://anthropology.missouristate.edu/46303.htm