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acculturation, culture changes resulting from contact among various societies over time. Contact may have distinct results, such as the borrowing of certain traits by one culture from another, or the relative fusion of separate cultures. Early studies of acculturation reacted against the predominant trend of trying to reconstruct cultures of presumably isolated societies. Such work was faulted for implying that various cultural groups enjoyed an unchanging, precontact period. In this view, the anthropologist's job seemed quite simple, since each culture could be perceived as a unitary whole. Interactions with other peoples have, in fact, always been a significant feature of social life. Early studies of contact called attention to resulting social and individual psychological disturbances. Studies today often call attention to the development of one complex world system, in which some societies dominate others economically, politically, and socially. Many cultural theorists also observe the ways in which cultural groups resist domination, often working against acculturation in the process. Syncretism occurs when a subordinate group molds elements of a dominant culture to fit its own traditions. Acculturation differs from assimilation, in which different ethnic groups combine to form a new culture.
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  1. (especially in CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY) a process in which contacts between different cultural groups lead to the acquisition of new cultural patterns by one, or perhaps both groups, with the adoption of all or parts of the other's culture.
  2. any transmission of culture between groups, including transfer between generations (although in this instance the terms ENCULTURATION and SOCIALIZATION are more usual).
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the process of mutual influence of cultures; the total or partial acceptance by one people of the culture of another, usually more developed, people.

The term acculturation first received scholarly usage in the USA in the 1930’s in connection with a study of the contemporary culture of the American Indians. Later, American ethnographers also studied the acculturation of the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Oceania, using the term to conceal the enforced assimilation of oppressed peoples.

After the war the problem of acculturation occupied a prominent position in the works of scholars in India and Latin America—that is, in countries where national consolidation involved a population made up of groups with diverse origins and various levels of cultural and historical development.

The study of the processes of acculturation demands a historical approach to the culture of the peoples being studied. In Soviet literature the term acculturation has not been given an independent meaning, but the processes it designates have been successfully studied by Soviet ethnographers as processes of assimilation and rapprochement of peoples.


Bakhta, V. M. “Problema akkul’turatsii v sovremennoi etnograficheskoi literature SShA.” In the anthology Sovremennaia amerikanskaia etnografiia. Moscow, 1963. (With bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The literature suggests that culturally grounded narratives are a natural choice for identifying and shaping health messages for less acculturated audiences, because they reflect the underlying values and norms of the culture within an approachable context (Larkey & Hecht, 2010).
Accommodating partially acculturated religious activity does present distinctive challenges.
Guerra added that among more acculturated shoppers, there is usually a two to three percent shift in sales.
* Mostly acculturated workers are primarily born in the United States and represent about 11% of Hispanic adults.
Foreign-born Latino/as who are bicultural or integrated earn more than those who assimilate to the Anglo culture and are not acculturated to Latino culture.
Less acculturated Latina breast cancer patients were particularly vulnerable to high levels of worry, while African American patients had significantly less worry than other races.
Many German Jews had acculturated to German society.
However, emerging research arid theory have shown that an individual can be highly acculturated while still maintaining a strong ethnic identity (e.g., Lieber, Chin, Nihira, & Mink, 2001).
The Latino intervention version was more efficacious in schools with larger percentages of non-English-speaking families, but only among less linguistically acculturated Latino students.
They were divided into two groups based on the length of stay in the U.S.: low acculturated Korean Americans (LAK, n=23, average length of residency: 4.10 [+ or -] 2.92 years) and high acculturated Korean Americans (HAK, n=37, average length of residency: 16.97 [+ or -] 5.86 years).
The Mintel report also found that frozen snack usage is extremely low among less acculturated Hispanics, but more acculturated Hispanics eat them at the same rate as other Americans In addition, Hispanic children show higher preference for healthy snacks like yogurt, cheese, raw veggies and nuts than non-Hispanic children.