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  • 25 August, 2022

  • 8 Min Read



India's unusual mix of numerous cultures and its ideals lend themselves to a greater comprehension of the idea of acculturation and its results.

Image Source - Haika Deck

Meaning of acculturation

  • American geologist John Wesley Powel first used the term "acculturation" in a study for the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology in 1880.
  • He described it as the psychological alterations brought about in people as a result of cross-cultural imitation and interaction with many cultures.
  • Acculturation is now understood to be the process through which an individual or group from one culture interacts with another, absorbing its beliefs and customs while keeping its own unique identity.
  • The integration of Black Americans into white American society serves as a good illustration.
  • According to sociologists, acculturation is a two-way process in which the minority culture adapts elements of the majority culture to fit in and the majority culture is likewise influenced by the minority culture.

Effects of Acculturation


  • In the process of integrating, a person or group adjusts to a new culture while preserving its own culture. It happens in situations where social integration through cultural adoption is important.
  • In a multicultural society with a sizable percentage of minority groups, this tactic is adopted.
  • Those who employ this tactic can effortlessly transition between the values and norms of the various cultures they have assimilated when interacting with groups from both cultures.


  • It happens when people or groups scarcely engage with a different cultural group.
  • This tactic isolates the person or group, forcing them to the margins of society where they are ignored by the majority.
  • It becomes very impossible to communicate and assimilate with a different cultural group in a culture where cultural exclusion is practised because of the barriers formed between the two.


  • The process of transmutation is one in which value is put on both preserving one's own culture and assimilating elements of a new culture.
  • It differs from integration in that new cultures are created via the blending of the old ones (instead of integrating and switching between the codes and conducts of two different cultures).
  • As a result, a new culture that is accepted by both individuals and organizations is created by the special blending of two cultures.


  • 1918 research on Polish immigrants in Chicago conducted by W.I. Thomas and Florian Znaniecki helped to clarify the idea of assimilation.
  • A new culture is adopted by a group and essentially replaces the existing culture, leaving only vestiges behind.
  • Individuals or groups who assimilate eventually blend in with the culture they first encountered.
  • It happens when one's culture is given little weight and "fitting in," which is seen as essential for survival in a new cultural environment, is given significant priority.
  • This result is likely to happen in societies that function as "melting pots" where new members are assimilated.

Relevance of acculturation in India

  • Understanding the idea of acculturation and its results is greatly aided by India's particular blending of many cultures.
  • Nearly every area of Indian civilization has been impacted by Persian culture; famous foods like biriyanis and floods as well as spices like saffron and cumin seeds have Persian roots.
  • A prime example of the blending and transformation of cultures is the Urdu language, which is a combination of Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Hindi.
  • Hindu temple architectural styles can be seen in the designs of Christian churches in Kerala, such as the Pazhaya Suriyani Pally in Chengannur and the little church Cheriapally in Kottayam.
  • The blending of Hindu and Christian traditions and customs in Indian society is best seen in the sculptures of Christian deities inside lotuses that resemble those of Hindu deities, as well as the carvings of cows, elephants, and monkeys on church walls.


  • Since migration and encounters with other cultures have always been a component of the development of civilization, acculturation is an inevitable social process.
  • Through acculturation, we can discover and comprehend new facets of diverse cultures while still appreciating their distinctions.
  • Different cultures may be marginalized and separated due to resentment toward other cultures and the conviction that one's ancestry is superior, which will ultimately impair a society's ability to function.

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