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The process of acculturation refers to the influences on individuals of changing cultural contexts, and often implies contact with other cultures. When a person adopts almost fully the social customs/behaviour of the host country with norms and values of that culture, we speak of an acculturated individual. Acculturation can also be described as a process through which a person gradually ceases to conform to any standard of life that differs from the dominant group's standards. It is assumed that the usual course of acculturation takes three generations (Spector, 1991). Acculturation can happen at two levels: the population level and the individual level. At the population level, acculturation consists of changes in social structure, economic base and political organization. At the individual level, psychological acculturation involves changes in identity, values, attitudes and behaviour (Segall et al, 1990).


Segall H., Dasen P., Berry J.,Poortinga Y. (1990) Human behaviour in global perspective. Pergamon Press. New York.

Spector, R. (1991) Cultural diversity in health and illness. Appleton & Lange. East Norwalk, CN, USA.

Related terms:

Assimilation    Culture    Cultural awareness    Cultural heritage    Cultural identity    Valuing Diversity    Enculturation    Immigration    Immigrant    Migrant    Refugee    Social Cohesion    Social Exclusion    
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