Acculturation and Assimilation - Paper Example

Published: 2022-12-15
Acculturation and Assimilation - Paper Example
Type of paper:  Critical thinking
Categories:  Multiculturalism Community Intercultural communication
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1688 words
15 min read

The article titled Acculturation and Assimilation: a Clarification by Teske and Nelson was written in May 1974. It describes the clarification of the relationship that exists between the assimilation and acculturation. This relationship is established through developing a conceptual framework comprising of an evaluation of the theoretical literature. This literature has to contain common features that are related to each concept to be considered for review. Furthermore, the features are outlined as well as discussed to identify the underlying similarities as well as differences that exist between the elements. The elements are then studied and compared to generate an explanation of the connection between assimilation and acculturation.

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The authors identify a total of four features that they use to determine the relationship between acculturation and assimilation. These features include individual or group process, direction, and dominance, values, identity or the out-group and process, event or result. These features are analyzed individually in terms of similarities and differences to create a comprehensive conclusion on the relationship that is present between assimilation and acculturation. According to the authors, even though acculturation and assimilation may seem like connected processes in such a way that assimilation is seen as the result of acculturation, it is dependent on acculturation to a certain degree as evidenced by the characteristics analyzed in the study.

When identifying whether acculturation is a process, event or result, the authors recognize that acculturation can be identified as a process by which the culture of a society is altered due to the interaction with other different cultures (Teske & Nelson, 1974). Acculturation was also identified as a dynamic process as there are a variety of levels of acculturation. Similarly, assimilation was defined as a process despite the previous assumption that it was a result of acculturation. The authors identify assimilation as a process of fusion whereby a person or a group gain the memories, attitudes as well as sentiments of the other person or groups through sharing their history and experiences. The authors also identify that both assimilation and acculturation require direct contact as an essential factor for the success of both processes.

In terms of the values, identity or the out-group, the question on whether the values and value structures are changed or remain constant for acculturation to take place. Also, the question of whether acculturation brings forth contingency on positive orientation towards the out-group by the acculturating group has also been brought to light. The authors identify that though acculturation may provide a chance for modification of value orientation, it is not a necessary condition, and the adoption of values cannot be forced. The authors also identify that even though there is an acceptance of cultural elements into an out-group, the components are adjusted to suit the beliefs of the out-group in such a way that the cultural meaning may be altered. Therefore, the acquired cultural factors may have a different meaning to the out-group as compared to the acculturating group. Moreover, acceptance or an affirmative placement by the subdominant group is not compulsory since acculturation is not dependent on alteration in terms of orientation and values of the group. On the other hand, assimilation differs from acculturation in this context. Assimilation requires a positive orientation to as well as identification with towards the out-group such that assimilation is reliant on the approval of the dominated group. Furthermore, assimilation involves both internal as well as an external change of the out-group. Assimilation, unlike acculturation, also consists of a change in values and value orientation.

When analyzing the feature of a group or individual process, the authors identify that there is a slight variance between assimilation and acculturation. Acculturation is continuously recognized as an individual or group practice all through the article. Teske and Nelson explain that acculturation can be defined as the process of internalization of external trends by an individual or a group or even both. However, they caution that the definition of acculturation must remain sensitive to which level the expert is concerned about. Acculturation may take place between cultural subgroups and also between independent cultural groups. On the other hand, even though assimilation can be identified as both an individual or group process, group process can be accepted only in the context of shared conscious. Else, an expert can identify just an abrasion level of individuals who are assimilating. Assimilation is not easily feasible in the context of cultural groups that are continuously strengthened. Furthermore, the isolation of a cultural group does not translate to the automatic assimilation. Nevertheless, it is acceptable that erosion may be so extensive that it results in the disbanding of a secluded cultural group. Moreover, no distinct or identifiable group has been assimilated therefore making it difficult to recognize assimilation of a group unless through identifying the rate of assimilation of the members of the group.

Direction and dominance have been used as features that explain the relationship between assimilation and acculturation. Acculturation is identified as a bidirectional process as per the research of different authors (Teske & Nelson, 1974). Furthermore, the authors also accept that the nature of this direction is reciprocal. However, the two-way process is recognized as not necessarily egalitarian due to the variation in the degree of acculturation. In terms of dominance, acculturation can take place without dominance as a precondition. However, if the group has a dominant-subdominant correlation, the direction, as well as the level of acculturation, will be affected. Forced acculturation may result in the dominated group resisting acculturation to a certain degree. Assimilation, on the other hand, is a unidirectional process that is one-way. Assimilation must occur towards the host group for both the individual level as well as the group level. The fact that assimilation require acceptance as well as a modification in orientation group by the out-group supports the notion. However, this context does not also preclude the likelihood of singular members from group A may be assimilated into group B while at the same time specific affiliates of group B get assimilated into group A. in terms of dominance, assimilation is assumed to always occurs towards the prevailing group. However, the authors explain that there is a possibility that members of a prevailing group may be assimilated to other groups depending on where dominance is based on. Also, assimilation at the group level assumes that a dominant group cannot assimilate into a group that is subdominant. Nevertheless, the role of dominance is yet to be confirmed in regards to assimilation despite the basic assumptions and observations (Teske & Nelson, 1974).

Teske and Nelson provide a summary of their conclusions that are derived from the characteristics described above. They conclude that both assimilation and acculturation are separate as well as different processes. Acculturation can take place autonomously of assimilation. Additionally, acculturation, though not necessary, is an essential condition that facilitates the occurrence of assimilation. However, the authors also indicate that the degree to which accumulation needs to occur before assimilation can occur is indefinite. Therefore, acculturation and assimilation may seem like connected processes in such a way that assimilation is perceived as the result of acculturation, it is dependent on acculturation to a certain point as evidenced by the characteristics analyzed in the study.

The authors use the ethos and logos types of appeal to evoke the audience to their side. The authors invoke the ethos appeal by citing statements from credible sources such as literature from past researchers. Also, logos, in the form of intellectual discussions in the form of logical reasoning helps the authors to appeal to the audience's inner thoughts. The authors, however, fail to appeal to the emotions of the readers and therefore do not use the pathos appeal to persuade the audience to their side.

From the four characteristics, the authors have successfully identified the relationship between acculturation and assimilation. I am very impressed with the clear distinctions of the different contexts of these features to fit with either acculturation or assimilation. The examples provided as well as the work cited indicates that a lot of literature was analyzed to generate accurate information. The method of explanation is done using simple language that makes it easier to identify the differences between acculturation and assimilation using one feature. It is difficult to argue with the points identified with the authors since the paper provides a clarification of the intended topic and does not stray. The article was written as a contribution of the information to both the public, the scholars as well as the other researchers who are interested in the patterns of society in terms of acculturation as well as assimilation.

The claims made by the authors are based on information that is generated from the analysis of past research literature. The journal further challenges our way of thinking as well as identifying the factors that are common and different between acculturation and assimilation. Even though the article identifies some issues that are not yet clarified in regards to both assimilation and acculturation, it also sheds light on factors that had not yet been considered by past researches. For example, previous researches have only covered acculturation or assimilation, but none had information that combined both concepts in terms to develop a clarification on the relationship that is present between the two ideas.

In conclusion, the article by Teske and Nelson had a positive impact on me. The effectiveness of the article in providing information that was well supported by credible sources. Also, the report addresses the topic it was meant to tackle by providing sufficient information that does not leave room for any doubts or criticism by the reader. The adequate evidence provided by the authors' impact the opinions of the reader in such a way that one gains significant information that they can apply in future discussions. Even though the authors do not appeal to the emotions of the reader, it is very hard not to be swayed by the information given the evidence in support of the information as well as the logical arguments and deductions of the authors.


Teske, R. H., & Nelson, B. H. (1974). acculturation and assimilation: a clarification. American Ethnologist, 1(2), 351-367. doi:10.1525/ae.1974.1.2.02a00090.

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