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Acculturation is the adapting social, psychological, cultural change blending into another culture. The acculturation most often occurs in two different categories: group and individual level. For the group level, the culture tends to be changed at a societal level, such as a political or economics regime in which the entirety of the population must adapt. For instance, historically speaking, colonization of another country serves great impact of how the host country change most noticeably in its culture, religious practice, customs etc. Individually, acculturation refers to change that take place as a result of contact with culturally dissimilar people, groups, and social influences (Gibson, 2001). For example, the acculturation process of being an immigrant to a country includes being able to adjust to the values, norms, beliefs, and attitudes towards the new culture. The following readings from the course demonstrated the struggle with the process of acculturation, encompassing minorities moving to a new country where new culture and environment is identified. The difficulties of the characters tides into bigger themes of the course, which includes self identity and gender.


Theories of Acculturation

John Berry (2001) model includes four of the following strategies.


The individual maintains his or her own cultural identity while at the same time becomes a participants in the host culture. Integration is also synonymous with biculturalism in that the individual is able to adapt to both culture.


It's the process in which the individual gives up his or her own cultural identity and becomes absorbed into the host culture. Immigrants not only fully integrate themselves into a new country, but also lose aspects, perhaps all of their heritage too.


The individual maintains his or her own cultural identity and rejects involvement with the host culture. This often occurs when there is strong biases and racial stereotypes in the host culture.


It occurs when the individual reject both their culture of origin and the dominant host culture. This happens usually in societies where cultural exclusion is promoted, or perhaps divorce of parents living in two separate cultures.

Determinants of Acculturation


In the assimilation category, people with Finnish and East European backgrounds have the highest shares while individuals with African backgrounds. The highest share of marginalized individuals is found among non-European (African, Asian and South American) backgrounds. Also, the Non-European group has the highest share of individuals born abroad which affected the numbers.


The education level is separated into four different levels: completion of compulsory school, secondary school, short post-secondary school, or University. Also, there are a number of other characteristics and attributes correlated to acculturation identity such as parental educational level, experiences of discrimination, ethnic capital. Overall, integration have the highest proportion with University graduates and lower proportion with marginalized due to the level of education. Similarly, compulsory school correlates with highest level of marginalized identity.

Immigration Status

Similarly to the education level, the marginalized is associated with lowest level of education and immigration status than all of the three other acculturation identity.


In general, women are more likely to be integrated and less likely to be marginalized than men. In contrast, in a urban area increases the probability of men to have a marginalized identity and decreases likelihood for an integrated identity.

Out on main street

Out on main street is a novel written by Mootoo which conveys the struggle of a homosexual couple in a heterosexual society. During the 1970's Canada was recognized as a nation taking pride in its multiculturalism, which reflects the various cultural practices and religions existing together and forming one nation. However, there was still community judgement at the time on the idea of homosexuality in a heterogeneous culture. Throughout the book, the narrator is constantly given the readers voices and opinions of how others perceive her relationship with her girlfriend as abnormal. The couple had emigrated to Canada from Trinidad in regard to racial and cultural identity. Even though the Café takes place where members of multi-diverse groups are brought together, the quote:"W]e is watered-down Indians — we ain't good grade A Indians. We skin brown, is true, but we doh even think 'bout India unless something happens over dere and it come on de news." signified the judgements coming from others based on their skin color and sexual orientation. Another example that make matters even more complicated was when the couple encounters real Indians in Canada. She explained the complication of heterogeneous culture:"Up here, I learning 'bout all kind a custom and food and music and clothes dat we never see or hear 'bout in good ole Trinidad" (MS 47). In fact, the women were neglected by their own race in another country due to their way of establishing themselves in a heterogeneous culture. Furthermore, the main character struggles with her multiculturalism because she is East Indian and in fact looks East Indian. However, not being raised in Hindu as well as not wearing traditional clothing left her in a spot between two cultures, trying to fit in the new culture while being neglected by the old one. Overall, In "Out on Main Street," Canadian society is thus not imagined as a cultural mosaic (stability of cultural and racial identity). The author shows the difficulties of an establishment of cultural origin in the first place, and relocating individuals that have specific self-identities, is just as hard to be accepted in Canada as anywhere else.

Kiss of the Fur Queen

The Novel "Kiss of the Fur Queen" written by Tomson Highway is another example of the adversity of minorities face moving into a new culture. The story takes place in a small town in Manitoba where a pair of native brothers trying to adopt to the catholic school and life. The story reflects author Highway's roots and memories based on the events that led to his brother Rene Highway's death of AIDS. Also, being a native minority himself, the context presents the experience of Native Children in residential school stripped of their own culture and language. For instance, the brothers in the story were taken from their parents and tribe to enter a residential school where they are unable to speak their native language, forced to cut their hair, and ultimately renamed by the school as Jeremiah and Gabriel. The quote :"English is so hierarchical. In Cree, we don't have animate-inanimate comparisons between things. Animals have souls that are equal to ours. Rocks have souls, trees have souls. Trees are 'who,' not 'what.” depicts the differences between the native and catholic cultures. While being away from away and unable to adjust to the environment of the Catholic school, the brothers are being physically and sexually by the hands of the priests. As a result, as the story progresses, we found out Gabriel's sexuality as a homosexual, while in a time when this was not accepted, he had to descend into prostitution with flashbacks of the abuse he suffered by the priests. At the end, even though the brothers became world class musician and dancer respectively, their traumatized experiences while at the residential experiences, along with the inability to form meaningful relationships, make themselves hard to find true self identities. “I mean, if Native languages have no gender, then why should we? And why, for that matter, should God?” signifying the brothers forcing to be speaking English and forcing to abandon their original cree culture. Overall, the main theme of the novel is centralized around the devastation of colonization for the natives people. The author, Tomson Highway, being an aboriginal himself, also having to endure the death of his brother due to AIDS, wrote this book coming from his inner voice and experience.


Kuo, B. C. (2014). Coping, acculturation, and psychological adaptation among migrants: a theoretical and empirical review and synthesis of the literature. Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine, 2(1), 16-33. doi:10.1080/21642850.2013.843459

Ward, C., & Rana-Deuba, A. (1999). Acculturation and Adaptation Revisited. Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 30(4), 422-442. doi:10.1177/0022022199030004003

Acculturation: Living successfully in two cultures. (2005). Retrieved December 02, 2017, from