What is Acculturation?


When a community of people assumes a foreign type of culture , a process of acculturation takes place . This process can be conscious or unconscious, peaceful or through the use of force.

Acculturation comes from the English, acculturation . The term is used to refer to a process of change that occurs when there is contact or union of one or more groups of people from different cultures , giving rise to a new culture.

This mixture of knowledge occurs when everyone accepts and identifies with the different cultures of the groups with whom he correlates in a harmonious and automatic way.

Some scholars claim that this process can cause people to lose their identity , helping them abandon their traditions in order to live up to the lifestyle of other countries and cultures.
And that there will be a time when Western and Eastern cultures will be one, that is, with the advancement of the media, there will come a time when cultural differences will be minimal .


How Acculturation Works

It is noteworthy that acculturation can occur in all its forms of representation , despite the fact that the scope of culture is the most recurrent producer of transformations. In the book Cultural Process: Endoculturation and Acculturation , the authors point out that this is simply because they readily accept a state-of-the-art computer, a new model of mobile phone, or a well-drilling machine, among other things.

However, it is not that simple, for example, changing the taste for certain foods and dishes , changing religion , transforming values ​​or breaking down myths and taboos.
This process is believed to happen this way , because in material culture it is easier to see the benefits or harms of a particular innovation than when something that can change your habits comes your way.

Types of Acculturation

Acculturation has three types depending on its form:


Spontaneously, peacefully, that is, when there is no confrontation or clash between cultures . A very common example is the religious syncretism that occurs in Brazil, in which there is a fusion of rites and beliefs of European, African and indigenous religions.


When there is no other option for the society that is submitting its culture. Thus, acculturation occurs by coercion. The Christian baptism of the Jesuits in the Brazilian Indians can be framed in this way, since the Catholic culture was imposed by the Portuguese on the natives.


In this case, acculturation is thought and organized to modify the culture itself or even another culture. For example, public policies that seek to transform people’s way of life.
If there is a dengue epidemic, measures can be designed to change people’s daily habits, such as being careful not to let water accumulate in pots, bottles and other places.

Indigenous Acculturation

Indigenous acculturation occurred when Europeans arrived in America. The Jesuits began to teach the Indians European culture. They learned to read, write and accept their beliefs, and the Europeans learned new things related to the culture of the Indians.

The Indians who did not accept the changes imposed by the Jesuits were practically decimated, leaving little of their original culture.

Often, the union of one or more cultures can lead to a total or partial dismemberment of one of these cultures, which is what happened with the indigenous culture.

What is Cultural Assimilation ?

Cultural assimilation occurs when an individual or group of people incorporates the characteristics or customs of another social class.

Changes can occur in the way people think and act, that is, they stop having their own customs and come to accept the culture of others.

Examples of Acculturation

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  • When the Spanish conquerors arrived in the lands of the American continent, they implanted their language, their religion, their traditions and their way of understanding life.
  • Roman civilization was basically the imposition of a cultural mode in relation to other subjugated peoples.
  • Some minority cultures are in danger of extinction due to the hegemony of majority cultures . In this sense, certain communities in Latin America are experiencing a gradual process of losing their identity as a people.
  • When the Australian territory was occupied by the British, the Aboriginal peoples fell victim to a slow cultural extermination .


Globalization and Acculturation

Globalization has two very different sides. On the one hand, it has a series of advantages: greater access to all kinds of goods and services, reduction of production costs, elimination of economic borders, etc.

However, not all of them are benefits. In fact, the globalized world is associated with acculturation . In this sense, some minority languages ​​are in danger of extinction. Isolated groups of people are losing their traditions because they are not adapted to the way of life and the reality of world markets.

The most characteristic example of the globalization-acculturation binomial is related to language. English has become a dominant language in human relationships and this circumstance can be positive in the economic field, but detrimental from the cultural point of view.

These are some of the consequences of acculturation.

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