A wise netfriend offers some thoughts about the difference between multiculturalism and plural monoculturalism:
‘It seems to me that multiculturalism is about different cultures living together in a respectful way consistent with respect for everyone’s human rights and citizenship. It is about shaping public life so that there is a shared identity and values but also some recognition of the identities of all those who make up the nation (ie the national identity needs to take into account different experiences, origins, languages).
It is about saying that in private, family, local community life there can be many different ways of living as citizens. At the public level we need some agreement about how things are done and why; at the personal, family or local community level we can respond to the particular people and cultures who are actually present – to the extent that this does not erode basic human rights or public policy(eg compulsory schooling for both sexes).
Multiculturalism requires a commitment to agreed processes of governance, citizenship obligations etc.
Plural monoculturalism seems to me to be about cultures existing side by side without a sense of shared citizenship or willingness to treat other people’s culture, language or religion with the respect that one expects for one’s own culture, language or religion.
Multiculturalism involves a sense of reciprocity and shared public space. Plural monoculturalism implies people seeing others as aliens and resisting being in public spaces with them. Multiculturalism is about maximizing respect and freedom for everyone; plural monoculturalism is about carving out space only for one’s own culture, and expecting every other culture to do the same.
Multiculturalism relates to communities containing multiple cultures. The term is used in two broad ways, either descriptively or normatively. As a descriptive term, it usually refers to the simple fact of cultural diversity: it is generally applied to the demographic make-up of a specific place, sometime at the organizational level, e.g. schools, businesses, neighborhoods, cities, or nations. ...
In multiculturalism, one rejoices that several languages are used in key events. In plural monoculturalism, one focuses on whether one’s own language is one of those used.
What I am trying to say is that multiculturalism is about collaboration and serial monoculturalism is more about competition.