Overlapping and cross cutting differences

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1. When some social difference overlaps other social difference it is called overlapping social difference.

2. Overlapping differences is the mixture of one or more differences caused by one main difference. Situations of this kind produce social divisions, when one kind of social difference becomes more important than the other and people start feeling that they belong to different communities.racial or linguistic differences may lead to economic differences. It is not easy to accommodate and even created deep social divisions and tensions.

3. Example:- a) racial difference between dark complexion and fairer complexion also referred as the [African-Americans]in the US becomes a social division because the darker complexion tend to stay unemployed due to their color and tend to be poor & homeless, and often face injustice & discrimination. Their complexion leads them to poverty. b) In India Dalit(lower caste) have constantly been ignored by the upper castes and they tend to be poor & landless and often face injustice & discrimination.

4. Overlapping differences create possibilities of deep social divisions and tensions.


1.If social differences cross-cut one another,it is difficult to pit one group of people against other.

2. It means that a group that share a common interest on one issue are likely to be on different sides on a different issue. In here, it is easy to accommodate and no tensions.

3. Example -Northern Ireland and Netherlands both are predominantly Christians but divided between Catholics & Protestants. In Northern Ireland the Protestants have stayed richer than the Catholics here class & religion overlap each other, Catholics have been poor & have suffered discrimination where as in Netherlands , class & religion tend to cross-cut each other and both are equally likely to be rich or poor.Social discrimination in Netherlands is not overlapped by economic issues both the christian communities have equal number of rich and poor. It means they have conflict in Northern Ireland and it is not so in Netherlands.

4. Cross-cut social differences are easier to accommodate.

5. GM