Acculturation: A Data-Driven Learning Guide
Goal & Concept
The goal of this module is to explore the assimilation and separation/ethnic competition models of acculturation. Crosstabulation will be used.
Acculturation is the process whereby the norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors of people from one culture are modified as a result of contact with a different culture. Although acculturation is usually in the direction of a minority group adopting habits and language patterns of the dominant or host society, acculturation can be reciprocal--that is, the dominant group also adopts patterns typical of the minority group.
Researchers have proposed several models of acculturation, including assimilation (whereby immigrants gradually lose their original cultural identity and become more like the dominant group), and separation or ethnic competition (whereby immigrants value their culture of origin and strive to preserve their ethnic/cultural identity, beliefs, and practices).
Studies have shown that acculturation has wide-ranging effects on immigrants' lives on several levels: psychologically, socio-culturally, and economically. For example, from a health perspective, research shows that high levels of acculturation are associated with increased smoking and drug use, as well as increased rates of certain types of cancer. From an economic standpoint, immigrants' income tends to rise as they become more acculturated. Feelings of political trust also are influenced by acculturation: research suggests that as immigrants become more integrated into US society, they become more cynical about American government.
Examples of possible research questions about acculturation:
- How does acculturation affect immigrants' socio-economic status?
- How does acculturation affect immigrants' mental and physical health?
- Does exposure to American mass media promote acculturation? Conversely, does exposure to ethnic mass media encourage immigrants to retain their cultural identity?
- Can immigrants maintain both a high acceptance of American cultural values, and a high affinity for their ethnic cultural identity?
- Does one's age at the time of immigration influence the extent and the speed of the acculturation process?
- What factors promote or hinder acculturation?
- What influence does acculturation have on immigrants' social and political attitudes?
CITATION: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research. Acculturation: A Data-Driven Learning Guide. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-04-16. doi:10.3886/acculturation
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