Overlapping vs Cross Cutting Social Differences – Difference and Comparison

What is Overlapping Social Difference?

There are various perspectives and characteristics by which two or more two groups can be different. Often, these differences can overlap with each other such that one social difference becomes more impactful and powerful than the other. This results in a state called Overlapping social difference.

When a particular social difference becomes more powerful than the other differences, people feel more connected to one group. Thus, they isolate the other groups.

In this combination of many social differences, there is one difference that is the root cause of other social differences.

The overlapping social difference can cause major social division and create a huge tension.

Consider a situation of racial difference between dark complexion and fairer complexion in the US. This becomes a social division because darker-skinned people might remain unemployed due to discrimination against them. Thus, they end up being poor, and often face injustice & discrimination. So, we have overlapping differences in race, skin color, and money.

What is Cross-cutting Social Difference?

Cross-cutting social differences are the social differences in which the impact of one social difference is decreased by the influence of another social difference which is more powerful. Thus, one social difference is nullified in the presence of another. 

One difference gets nullified because two groups that share a common view on one issue might be on different sides on a different issue.

In cross-cutting social differences, the groups involved are most commonly similar groups with minor differences between them. A common example that is given is that of Catholics and protestants. Both belong to the Christian religion but show minor differences.

Cross-cutting social differences might promote unity as they often share common views and interests.

Difference Between Overlapping Social Differences and Cross-Cutting Social Differences

The social differences where one social difference overlaps with another social difference are known as overlapping differences. The social differences in which the impact of one social difference is nullified by the presence of another powerful social difference are known as Cross-cutting social differences.

Overlapping differences often result in excess social divisions, disintegration, and strenuous conflicts. On the other hand, Cross-cutting social differences may promote unity and encourage harmony in diversity.

In overlapping social differences, the opposing groups or social divisions do not share a common view on any issue. In Cross-cutting social differences, the groups may share common views on an issue.

Overlapping social differences are easier to understand and analyze because they mostly present stark contrasting differences between the groups. Cross-cutting social differences are difficult to analyze because they often show common characteristics.

Overlapping social differences are harder to accommodate due to various contrasts. Cross-cutting social differences are comparatively easier to accommodate as they show fewer differences.

Comparison Between Overlapping Social Differences and Cross-cutting Social Differences

Parameter of ComparisonOverlapping Social DifferencesCross-cutting Social Differences
DefinitionThe social differences where one social difference overlaps with another social difference are known as overlapping differences.The social differences in which the impact of one social difference is nullified by the presence of another powerful social difference are known as Cross-cutting social differences.
Analysis and understandingOverlapping social differences are easier to understand and analyzeCross-cutting social differences are difficult to analyze because they often show common characteristics
Sharing of common interestOpposing groups or social divisions do not share a common view on any issue.The groups may share common views on an issue.
ResultExcess social divisions, disintegration, and strenuous conflictsMay promote unity and encourage harmony in diversity.
AccommodationHarder to accommodateEasier to accommodate

References

  1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167204271710
  2. https://www.ssoar.info/ssoar/handle/document/42149