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What is a plural society?

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The term "plural society" refers to a society that is separated into various communities according to differences in language, ethnicity, race or religion. The expression was coined by the British academic and Fabian socialist, John Furnivall.

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Furnivall originally applied the concept of a plural society to the countries in South-East Asia, particularly Burma, which is present-day Myanmar, Malaysia and Indonesia. These nations, once subjected to colonial rule, developed divergent ethnic factions that were not morally bound to adhere to a single nationalistic identity. Contemporary usage of the term "plural society" now includes post-colonial states and the multiracial groups of South Africa and the Caribbean nations.

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