Healed Education

Unveiling the Power of Dominant Culture: Understanding its Impact and Embracing Subcultures

The Dominant Culture: Definition, Characteristics, and ExamplesDominant culture plays a significant role in shaping the values, practices, and beliefs of a society. It refers to the prevailing culture that holds the most influence and authority within a given social context.

In this article, we will explore the definition and characteristics of dominant culture, as well as examine some examples both in America and on a global scale. By delving into this topic, we aim to provide a thorough understanding of the concept and its impact on society.

1) Definition and Characteristics of Dominant Culture

1.1 Definition of Dominant Culture

Dominant culture can be defined as the cultural subset that holds the most power and influence within a society. It encompasses the cultural values, practices, and norms that are predominantly observed and accepted by the majority.

This culture shapes social expectations, communication patterns, and the overall framework of society. It is important to note that dominant culture is not synonymous with the culture of the entire population, but rather the culture embraced and promoted by those in power.

1.2 Characteristics of Dominant Culture

The characteristics of dominant culture can vary depending on the context, but some common traits can be identified. Firstly, dominant culture is influential, as it holds sway over societal norms and practices.

Whether implicitly or explicitly, its influence impacts various aspects of life, including education, politics, and economics. Dominant culture can also be considered natural within the context of a society.

In traditional societies, the prevailing cultural beliefs and practices often evolve over time, becoming deeply ingrained in the collective consciousness. In modern multicultural societies, dominant culture may be linked to the cultural preferences of the majority, and consequently, it shapes the identities and experiences of individuals from different backgrounds.

Another key characteristic is the relationship between dominant culture and power. Dominant culture is closely tied to the ruling class or the group that holds social, economic, and political power.

It serves their interests and helps maintain their authority. However, it is important to note that dominant culture can also coexist with various subcultures, representing different ethnic, religious, or regional identities within a society.

2) Examples of Dominant Culture

2.1 Examples of Dominant Culture in America

In the United States, one prominent example of dominant culture is the influence of White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs). Historically, this group has been associated with the upper class and has held power in American society.

Their cultural values and practices have shaped politics, education, and the general social fabric. 2.2 Examples of Dominant Culture Globally

On a global scale, examples of dominant culture can be observed in various contexts.

Heteronormativity, for instance, is a dominant cultural construct that presumes heterosexuality as the norm and marginalizes other sexual orientations. Patriarchy, too, is a dominant cultural system that perpetuates male dominance and reinforces gender inequalities.

Christianity, particularly in the Western world, has had a profound influence on dominant culture. It has influenced traditions, values, and perceptions of morality.

Moreover, the English language, due to the influence of British colonialism, has become a dominant global language, shaping communication and cultural exchange. Other examples of dominant culture can be seen in the effects of colonialism, such as the spread of Eurocentric cultural values and practices globally.

Additionally, capitalism has become a dominant economic system, influencing social structures and shaping the dynamics of power in many societies.


Understanding the dominant culture within a society is crucial for comprehending how societies function and how power is distributed. By recognizing its characteristics and examples, we gain insight into the influence it exerts on individuals and communities.

Whether it is the WASPs in America or the global effects of colonialism, dominant culture plays a significant role in shaping our world. By examining and critically evaluating its impact, we can work towards creating a more inclusive and equitable society for all.

3) Dominant Cultures and Cultural Hegemony

3.1 Cultural Hegemony and Dominant Groups

Cultural hegemony refers to the dominance of a particular culture or group over others, shaping the worldview, norms, and practices of society. Within cultural hegemony, dominant groups hold power and control over social institutions, allowing them to maintain and perpetuate their cultural values.

Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci introduced the concept of cultural hegemony, emphasizing the role of ruling classes in shaping societies.

Ruling classes, often associated with the dominant culture, have the ability to establish and enforce their cultural values and practices as the norm.

They use the power and influence they possess to shape social structures, institutions, and ideologies. As a result, the dominant culture becomes deeply ingrained in the consciousness of individuals in society, influencing their behavior, beliefs, and perceptions.

3.2 Establishment and Implications of Cultural Hegemony

The establishment of cultural hegemony by the ruling class has several implications. Firstly, it consolidates power within the hands of a select few, reinforcing existing social hierarchies.

The dominant culture serves the interests of the ruling class, further entrenching their authority. Consequently, those who deviate from the dominant culture are often marginalized or excluded from positions of power.

Moreover, cultural hegemony promotes a false worldview that reinforces the dominance of the ruling class. This false worldview portrays their cultural values and norms as superior and natural, while other cultural perspectives are perceived as deviant or substandard.

This perpetuates inequality and leads to the marginalization of cultures and identities that do not align with the dominant culture. Furthermore, cultural hegemony promotes the idea that the dominant culture’s values and practices are universally applicable and should be consented to by all members of society.

This consent is often achieved through coercion or the internalization of cultural norms, making it seem natural and unquestionable. Individuals may unknowingly conform to the dominant culture, perpetuating systems of oppression and limiting social progress.

4) Dominant Cultures in Workplaces

4.1 Dominant Culture in the United States

In the United States, the dominant culture in workplaces is often deeply rooted in Western ideals and values. It is success-oriented, emphasizing individual achievements, competitiveness, and productivity.

This dominant culture often aligns with male-centric norms, reflecting a historical gender bias within professional settings. For example, leadership positions and higher-paid jobs are often occupied by men, perpetuating the gender wage gap and limiting opportunities for women in the workplace.

4.2 Biases and Exclusionary Workplace

The dominance of Western culture in workplaces can lead to biases and exclusionary practices. Non-white individuals with names that do not conform to Western norms often face discrimination in hiring processes, as unconscious biases can influence decisions.

This leads to limited representation and lack of diversity within organizations, impeding the growth and progress of talented individuals from marginalized backgrounds. Additionally, the dominance of the Western culture in workplaces leads to the exclusion of alternative perspectives.

Innovation and creativity thrive on diversity, as different cultural backgrounds bring unique insights and approaches to problem-solving. By favoring the dominant culture, organizations miss out on the potential benefits of diversity, hindering their ability to adapt and compete in an increasingly globalized world.


Dominant cultures and cultural hegemony have a significant impact on societies and workplaces. By understanding the establishment and implications of cultural hegemony, we can work towards challenging oppressive systems and creating more inclusive environments.

Recognizing the dominance of Western culture in workplaces and addressing biases and exclusionary practices can lead to greater diversity, equity, and innovation. By valuing diverse perspectives and challenging the existing power structures, we can foster workplaces that embrace and benefit from the richness of cultural diversity.

5) Subcultures vs Dominant Cultures

5.1 Importance and Role of Subcultures

While dominant cultures hold significant influence within societies, subcultures play a crucial role in fostering diversity and cultural pluralism. Subcultures are smaller cultural groups within a larger society that have their own distinct values, practices, and norms.

They provide a space for individuals to express their cultural traditions, identities, and individuality. The existence of subcultures challenges the homogeneity of dominant cultures and introduces new perspectives and ideas.

Subcultures are essential for social change and progress. They often emerge as a response to the limitations and exclusions imposed by a dominant culture.

Subcultures challenge the status quo and offer alternatives, inviting broader discussions and questioning dominant cultural norms. They provide platforms for marginalized voices and can act as agents of social justice, advocating for the recognition and respect of diverse identities and traditions.

5.2 Benefits of Subcultures in Workplaces

Subcultures have tangible benefits within workplaces as well. They create a sense of belongingness and camaraderie for individuals who share common interests, experiences, or identities.

This sense of belonging fosters cohesion, collaboration, and overall individual and collective well-being. A workplace that recognizes and celebrates subcultures can create an inclusive environment where employees feel valued and appreciated for their unique contributions.

Moreover, subcultures within larger organizations can act as drivers of innovation and creativity. By embracing different perspectives and approaches, subcultures challenge traditional notions and offer fresh ideas that can lead to breakthroughs.

Inclusive workplaces that allow for subcultures to thrive create conditions for diverse voices to be heard and harnessed, leading to more dynamic and sustainable solutions. 6)


6.1 Dominant Culture Overview

Dominant cultures shape the values, practices, and norms of a society, wielding significant influence over individuals and social structures. They reflect the cultural preferences of the majority and are often associated with those in power.

Domination by a single culture can limit diversity and perpetuate inequalities, as it tends to establish and reinforce existing social hierarchies. 6.2 Importance of Allowing Subcultures

While dominant cultures play a pivotal role in society, it is crucial to allow for the presence and flourishing of subcultures.

An exclusive society that suppresses subcultures denies individuals the opportunity to express their unique identities and traditions. In contrast, a society that embraces and celebrates subcultures fosters a more inclusive world, recognizing the beauty and value in cultural diversity.

By recognizing the importance of subcultures, we can work towards creating a society that respects and accommodates different cultural expressions. In workplaces, embracing subcultures cultivates a sense of belongingness and encourages innovative thinking.

In society at large, recognizing and appreciating subcultures can lead to greater appreciation of diversity, mutual understanding, and ultimately, a more harmonious and equitable world. In conclusion, understanding the dynamics between dominant cultures and subcultures is vital for fostering a diverse and inclusive society.

While dominant cultures hold influence and shape societal norms, subcultures play a critical role in challenging and expanding cultural perspectives. Both dominant cultures and subcultures have their unique benefits and contributions.

Embracing subcultures in workplaces and in society at large allows for a more inclusive and dynamic environment, ultimately leading to a more enlightened and harmonious world.

Popular Posts