Acculturation vs. Assimilation

By Jaxson

  • Acculturation

    Acculturation is a process of social, psychological, and cultural change that stems from the balancing of two cultures while adapting to the prevailing culture of the society. Acculturation is a process in which an individual adopts, acquires and adjusts to a new cultural environment. Individuals of a differing culture try to incorporate themselves into the new more prevalent culture by participating in aspects of the more prevalent culture, such as their traditions, but still hold onto their original cultural values and traditions. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both the devotee of the prevailing culture and those who are assimilating into the culture.At this group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, religious practices, health care, and other social institutions. There are also significant ramifications on the food, clothing, and language of those becoming introduced to the overarching culture.

    At the individual level, the process of acculturation refers to the socialization process by which foreign-born individuals blend the values, customs, norms, cultural attitudes, and behaviors of the overarching host culture. This process has been linked to changes in daily behaviour, as well as numerous changes in psychological and physical well-being. As enculturation is used to describe the process of first-culture learning, acculturation can be thought of as second-culture learning.

    Under normal circumstances that are seen commonly in today’s society, the process of acculturation normally occurs over a large span of time throughout a few generations. Physical force can be seen in some instances of acculturation, which can cause it to occur more rapidly, but it is not a main component of the process. More commonly, the process occurs through social pressure or constant exposure to the more prevalent host culture.

    Scholars in different disciplines have developed more than 100 different theories of acculturation, but the concept of acculturation has only been studied scientifically since 1918. As it has been approached at different times from the fields of psychology, anthropology, and sociology, numerous theories and definitions have emerged to describe elements of the acculturative process. Despite definitions and evidence that acculturation entails a two-way process of change, research and theory have primarily focused on the adjustments and adaptations made by minorities such as immigrants, refugees, and indigenous people in response to their contact with the dominant majority. Contemporary research has primarily focused on different strategies of acculturation, how variations in acculturation affect individuals, and interventions to make this process easier.

  • Acculturation (noun)

    A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one.

  • Acculturation (noun)

    A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that they inhabit, starting at birth.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    The act of assimilating or the state of being assimilated.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    The metabolic conversion of nutrients into tissue.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    The absorption of new ideas into an existing cognitive structure.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    A sound change process by which the phonetics of a speech segment becomes more like that of another segment in a word (or at a word boundary), so that a change of phoneme occurs.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    The adoption, by a minority group, of the customs and attitudes of the dominant culture.

  • Assimilation (noun)

    the process of taking in and fully understanding information or ideas

    “the assimilation of the knowledge of the Greeks”

  • Assimilation (noun)

    the absorption and integration of people, ideas, or culture into a wider society or culture

    “the assimilation of Italians into American society”

  • Assimilation (noun)

    the absorption and digestion of food or nutrients by the body or any biological system

    “nitrate assimilation usually takes place in leaves”

  • Assimilation (noun)

    the process of becoming similar to something

    “Watson was ready to work for the assimilation of Scots law to English law where he thought it was justified”

  • Assimilation (noun)

    the fact of a sound being made more like another in the same or next word

    “there are many assimilations and elisions of consonants and vowels”

    “when p is preceded by some Latin prefixes, it is doubled because of the assimilation of a consonant, as in ‘apparent’ (ad-parent)”

Oxford Dictionary

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