Pluralism is one of those indeterminate words used frequently by interculturalists. It is also a word that can obscure and mislead rather than clarify and communicate. The problem is that scholars use pluralism in various ways. As a result, this word falls into the category known as floating signifiers. These are words that can mean many things. For example, Person A may use pluralism to express one idea, but Person B may read or hear it as something else, possibly something quite different.

Looking up pluralism in the dictionary does not help. Dictionary definitions attempt to identify what a word means in common cultural use, not necessarily as employed in academic or scholarly usage.

In scholarship, when used without an adjectival modifier, pluralism may simply refer to ...

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