What are Cross-Cutting Social Differences? | Definition, Working, Pros and Cons

Most humans live in society. But society is not homogeneous. Here every group of people have a different identity, believes, and social issues. Sometimes these social issues can relate to each other and sometimes not. When two different social differences nullified each other it is called cross-cutting social differences.

Here multiple groups of people accept their differences and diversity for the larger benefit of society. In a sense, the cross-cutting social differences unite different groups of people for the larger benefit of society. Let’s learn how cross-cutting social differences work and what are the advantages and disadvantages associated with it.

How does it work?

Just like fingers in the hand, not everyone in society agrees on everything. Each group of people has its identity and issues. Cross-cutting social differences occur when most of the people in different groups share a common interest and differ on a few. For example, India is a nation with multiple ethnic groups of people. There are 22 different languages spoken in this country.

In this country, people perceive different types of religious beliefs. Here people with every earning group live peacefully side by side. Even though every group of people has some kind of social issue but they overlook it for freedom and democracy. This larger interest keeps the nation united. Here every group embrace the diversity of other group and discuss all their social issue on the democratic parliamentary system.

Cross-cutting social differences are very common in modern society, where each group understand their difference and live peacefully with each other. Here they embrace each other’s diversity and try to solve every social issue with discussion. Cross-cutting social differences make the country united and push forward social progress. Here every community ignore their small differences and work for the greater good.

Advantages of Cross-cutting social differences

Cross-cutting social differences can be spotted in every modern society, where the population is not homogeneous. Here each group of people respects other groups of people’s diversity. As a result, it increases unity and makes the nation strong.

Another advantage of cross-cutting social differences is that they let every group accommodate others and discuss their social issues on a democratic platform. As a result, society progresses faster. The chances of civil war or any large form of conflict get reduced with cross-cutting social differences. Here every group of people lives with each other in harmony.

Disadvantages of Cross-cutting social differences

Cross-cutting social differences often discourage individualism. Even though Cross-cutting social differences create unity in the society, but it many times ignore various problems of the minorities. Many times minor groups aren’t able to express their voice in the public.

As a result, these groups often create small factions in the society and take radical route in politics. Another problem with this type of society is a slow growth rate of social progress. In this type of society, new ideas flourish less and people often oppose new ideas. For this reason, any social change takes time.


  1. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3117813
  2. https://www.jstor.org/stable/3088437