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Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

"the adoption and assimilation of an alien culture," 1880, from ad- "to" + culture (n.) + -ation.


n. 1 A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one. 2 A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that he/she inhabits, starting at birth.

  1. n. the adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture; "the socialization of children to the norms of their culture" [syn: socialization, socialisation, enculturation]

  2. all the knowledge and values shared by a society [syn: culture]

  3. the process of assimilating new ideas into an existing cognitive structure [syn: assimilation]


Acculturation explains the process of cultural change and psychological change that results following meeting between cultures. The effects of acculturation can be seen at multiple levels in both interacting cultures. At the group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, customs, and social institutions. Noticeable group level effects of acculturation often include changes in food, clothing, and language. At the individual level, differences in the way individuals acculturate have been shown to be associated not just with changes in daily behavior, but with numerous measures of 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.

The concept of acculturation has 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 peoples in response to their contact with the dominant majority. Contemporary research has primarily focused on different strategies of acculturation and how variations in acculturation affect how well individuals adapt to their society.

Usage examples of "acculturation".

For that reason he stayed very quiet now and put on the masks of knowledge, acculturation, matrimony.

I suspect the changes in me, at least in part, had to do with two things, the gradual stripping from me of negativistic Earth conditionings and, on the positive side, the Gorean acculturations to which I, a bond girl, was being exposed.