Multiculturalism is a phenomenon linked to globalization. Its effects and the presence of cultural plurality in contemporary societies is a reality that must be considered as we are all subject to different cultural experiences and influences. Cultures change and individuals actively interpret and renew their traditions to adapt to the changes brought about through relationships with others. In a society where there are several cultures and communities, it is essential that coexistence is regulated by mutual respect. In this regards there are different positions of thought between universalism and relativism.
Universalism is the idea according to which all possible differences can be traced back to a single human structure and that the encounter with the differences is gradually and inevitably resolved with adherence to the dominant cultural model. This model considers assimilation as a process that cannot be avoided and that takes place with the passage of time and generations. In this case, equality is based on the cancellation of all diversity: the foreigner, by accepting to be part of the community that welcomes him, assumes the rights and duties of all other citizens and refrains from claiming his own specific characteristics.
In the case of multicultural relativism, equality is not at the forefront but rather the democratic ideal. Each community has the right to express its diversity; in a pluralist society everyone is free to act according to their values and to express their belonging as long as they respect the laws and rules in regards to the other cultural groups. This multicultural vision is a critical response to the assimilationist model which is accused of a neutral universality that ends up engulfing differences, denying the value and dignity of minority cultures. But this response of multiculturalism proposes an uncritical acceptance of pluralism, which in a certain sense embodies differences, framing individuals within predefined ethnic or cultural containers.
Integration, on the other hand, is a formulation that refers to the centrality of the concept of the person which takes into account not only the choices and actions of migrants, but also the opportunities offered by the arrival society. The immigrant is thus not conceived as an abstract individual but as a conditioning and conditioned subject, the creator of the reality that surrounds him or her through the implementation of internalization and externalization processes. This means highlighting the importance of the context of integrative practices and integration policies, which are not mutually exclusive but relate to each other, forming fundamental inclusion processes that define future societies. In fact, it is in the relationship between the public and private spheres that intercultural confrontation intensifies, so much so as to transform the field of individual rights and collective rights into a social arena. Thus integration is defined as that multidimensional process aimed at peaceful coexistence, within a specific historical social reality, between culturally and/or ethnically different individuals and groups, based on mutual respect for ethnic-cultural diversities, provided that these do not harm the fundamental rights and do not jeopardize democratic institutions.