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culture changes resulting from contact among various societies over time. Contact may have distinct results, such as the borrowing of certain traits by one cultureculture,
in anthropology, the integrated system of socially acquired values, beliefs, and rules of conduct which delimit the range of accepted behaviors in any given society. Cultural differences distinguish societies from one another.
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 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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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 ?
Berry's (1997) bidimensional model identifies four acculturation strategies: integration, assimilation, separation, and marginalization.
Research suggests that acculturation influences one's career aspirations and career outcome expectations (Reynolds & Constantine, 2007) and vocational identity (Shih & Brown, 2000), but not career beliefs (Mahadevan, 2010).
To explore these dynamics, I created a series of computer simulations to ask what level of acculturation is needed to maintain the host's distinct cultural traditions in the face of different levels of migration.
Furthermore, English language media use has long been regarded as an important contributing factor in the acculturation process (Subervi-Velez, 1986).
Acculturation refers to changes in cultural attitudes, values and behaviors as an outcome of continuous, first-hand contact between members of two distinct cultural groups (Social Science Research Council, 1954).
"The most widely researched...approach to acculturation has been John Berry's acculturation framework," (10) which has shown that two critical issues are debated before the acculturation process begins: Do we want to preserve our cultural heritage, and how willing are we to interact with this new culture?
Participants had an average SL-ASIA score of 2.18 (SD = 0.54), indicating an average of low acculturation to the American culture in the study sample.
Does the Puerto Rican physical health literature reproduce the main criticisms of the culture of poverty and the critiques of the acculturation literature?
This project, using quantitative methods, investigated whether the level of acculturation and level of stigma affect Hmong women's attitudes toward and willingness to seek counseling services.
However, to the best of our knowledge, no one has examined early study abroad Korean students returning from the United States and their adaptation problems, health, and leisure during their acculturation in Korea.