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Kimya N. Dennis

Subject Sociology » Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Foster (1962) defines acculturation as the process of bringing previously separated and disconnected cultures into contact with one another. This contact must be substantial enough such that “cultural transmission” takes place ( Herskovits 1950 ). Cultural transmission is a key concept that distinguishes acculturation from other terms that are used interchangeably, including assimilation, enculturation, and diffusion. Both Foster and Herskovits highlight the theme of cultural borrowing. The process through which cultural borrowing occurs is of central concern to sociologists and involves between-group power differentials, cultural artifacts, and group norms and values. Acculturation is not the absorption of different cultures as a result of a mere physical contact or superficial exposure. The processes of cultural transmission and cultural borrowing are the result of conscious decision-making on the part of an individual or a group that is approaching a culturally distinct group. If no force or coercion is involved, the individual or group must decide whether and to what extent the new culture will be accepted or rejected. There are instances where the new culture will be imposed upon an individual or a group through force or coercion. In such forced circumstances, the individual or group retains the ability to consciously accept or reject certain aspects of the new culture. An ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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