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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.


  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).



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.)


References in periodicals archive ?
Immigrant occupational outcomes can be significantly affected by acculturative stress (Bhagat & London, 1999).
2010; Kim, 2012a) have focused mainly on acculturative stress, health problems, culture, and experiences in relation to studying abroad.
As shown in Figure 1, the effects of adult attachment (the preceding factors) on acculturative stress (indicated by perceived discrimination and somatic concerns) were likely to be mediated by two acculturation factors: levels of acquisition of White cultural norms and endorsement of home cultural values.
Latino college student adjustment: Does an increased presence offset minority-status and acculturative stresses?
social networks, neighborhood resources, racial/ethnic discrimination), (19) which can greatly influence an individual's acculturative trajectory.
Variables found to be significantly different between younger migrants (those migrating by age twelve) and older migrants (those migrating between ages thirteen and seventeen) include acculturation, acculturative stress, perceived social status, and discrimination.
In terms of the academic sojourn, research reports a fundamental failure to link acculturative stress with reentry (La Brack, 1993: Szkudlarek, 2009; Ward et al.
AIs' historic and current transition from tribal lands to predominately White cultural settings symbolizes a unique acculturation process that creates acculturative stress for AIs, who find themselves trying to balance the acquisition of predominately White cultural values and behaviors with those of tribal culture.
In the first article, Stewart, Owens, Queener, and Reynolds explore the unique relationship between acculturative stress and racial identity among African American students who are completing their counselor education.
African Americans with traditional acculturative coping strategies possess an unaccommodating way of relating to the environment and believe the degree of cultural divergence is large.
1) Chmielewski finds little evidence of the Indians' acculturative savoir-faire as described by Axtell.