Portraits of Native Americans from the Cherokee, Cheyenne, Choctaw, Comanche, Iroquois, and Muscogee tribes in European attire. Photos date from 1868 to 1924. Acculturation is the process of social, psychological, and cultural change that stems from the balancing of two cultures while adapting to the prevailing culture of the society.
At this group level, acculturation often results in changes to culture, religious practices, healthcare, and other social institutions. There are also significant ramifications on the food, clothing, and language of those becoming introduced to the overarching culture. At the individual level, the process of acculturation refers to the socialization process by which foreign-born individuals blend the values, customs, norms, cultural attitudes, and behaviors of the overarching host culture.
This process has been linked to changes in daily behaviour, as well as numerous changes in psychological and physical well-being. Under normal circumstances that are seen commonly in today’s society, the process of acculturation normally occurs over a large span of time throughout a few generations. Physical force can be seen in some instances of acculturation, which can cause it to occur more rapidly, but it is not a main component of the process.
More commonly, the process occurs through social pressure or constant exposure to the more prevalent host culture. Scholars in different disciplines have developed more than 100 different theories of acculturation, but the concept of acculturation has only been studied scientifically since 1918. The history of Western civilization, and in particular the histories of Europe and the United States, are largely defined by patterns of acculturation. One of the most notable forms of acculturation is imperialism, the most common progenitor of direct cultural change.
Although these cultural changes may seem simple, the combined results are both robust and complex, impacting both groups and individuals from the original culture and the host culture. The first psychological theory of acculturation was proposed in W. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki’s 1918 study, The Polish Peasant in Europe and America. Those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original cultural patterns of either or both groupsunder this definition acculturation is to be distinguished fromassimilation, which is at times a phase of acculturation.
Long before efforts toward racial and cultural integration in the United States arose, the common process was assimilation. In 1954, Milton Gordon’s book Assimilation in American Life outlined seven stages of the assimilative process, setting the stage for literature on this topic. In contradistinction from Gudykunst and Kim’s version of adaptive evolution, Eric M.