We review limitations of the traditional paradigm for cultural research and propose an alternative framework, polyculturalism. Polyculturalism assumes that individuals' relationships to cultures are not categorical but rather are partial and plural; it also assumes that cultural traditions are not independent, sui generis lineages but rather are interacting systems. Individuals take influences from multiple cultures and thereby become conduits through which cultures can affect each other. Past literatures on the influence of multiple cultural identities and cultural knowledge legacies can be better understood within a polyculturalist rubric. Likewise, the concept elucidates how cultures are changed by contact with other cultures, enabling richer psychological theories of intercultural influence. Different scientific paradigms about culture imply different ideologies and policies; polyculturalism's implied policy of interculturalism provides a valuable complement to the traditional policy frames of multiculturalism and colorblindness.


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