chapter  7
16 Pages

‘Us or Them’: An Oppositional Worldview

All worldviews present their view of reality as the ‘taken-for-granted’ interpretation of the social world (Berger and Luckmann, 1966). This leads to behaviours that often privilege our interpretation of the world over others, for example, ethnocentrism (Berger and Luckmann, 1966, Said, 1978). In a sense all worldviews are potentially in opposition to each other and threaten social consensus. However such privileging can be challenged and interpretations changed, often through engagement with alternative perspectives. It could be argued that this is essential for the health of a society and a means to facilitate social innovation and change (Berger and Luckmann, 1966, Lukes, 1985). This is particularly the case in modern or late modern societies where worldviews draw on scientific and other secular knowledge forms. Indeed late modernity is characterised as an era of increasing acceptance of competing views of reality as demonstrated in the prevalence of cultural and moral relativism (Giddens, 1991, Beck et al., 1994).