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Enculturation vs. Acculturation: Know the Difference

Shumaila Saeed
By Shumaila Saeed || Updated on December 25, 2023
Enculturation is learning one's own culture, while Acculturation involves adapting to a new culture.
Enculturation vs. Acculturation

Key Differences

Enculturation refers to the process where individuals learn and absorb the norms, values, and behaviors of their own culture. It is a lifelong, internal process that starts from childhood. Acculturation, on the other hand, involves adapting to and adopting elements of another culture, often due to immigration or prolonged exposure to a different culture. This process can influence one's original cultural identity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
Enculturation shapes an individual's identity, beliefs, and behaviors according to their native culture, often subconsciously. It is an internal process and is primarily influenced by family, education, and local society. Acculturation, in contrast, involves a conscious or unconscious adjustment to a foreign culture's practices and beliefs. It often includes the blending of one's original cultural traits with those of the new culture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
The role of language in enculturation is to reinforce cultural norms and values native to an individual. Language acts as a vessel for cultural heritage and traditions. In acculturation, learning a new language is often a key aspect, as it facilitates communication and deeper understanding of the new culture, thereby aiding in the adaptation process.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
Enculturation is usually a monolithic process, where the cultural context remains relatively stable and consistent. This stability provides a sense of cultural continuity and identity. Acculturation, however, can lead to cultural hybridity, where elements from both the original and new cultures are blended, creating a dynamic, often complex, cultural identity.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
In enculturation, cultural transmission is generally vertical, passed down from older generations to younger ones within the same culture. Acculturation involves horizontal cultural transmission, where an individual acquires elements from a culture alongside or different from their own, often leading to significant changes in one’s cultural practices and perspectives.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
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Comparison Chart

Definition

Learning and adopting one's native culture
Adapting to and adopting a new, different culture
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Influence

Internal, from native culture
External, from a different culture
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Process

Often subconscious and continuous
Can be conscious, often situational
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Language Role

Reinforces native cultural norms
Aids in understanding and adapting to a new culture
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Cultural Identity

Tends to maintain cultural continuity
May lead to a blended or hybrid cultural identity
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023
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Enculturation and Acculturation Definitions

Enculturation

The absorption of cultural beliefs and practices from one's own society.
Children learning to greet elders in their native language is a part of enculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Acculturation

The modification of one's cultural patterns to those of a host society.
Learning and using English in daily life is a form of acculturation for non-native speakers.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Enculturation

The subconscious assimilation of cultural ethos and principles.
Respecting cultural taboos is often a result of enculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Acculturation

The blending of different cultural traits, often resulting from migration.
Enjoying a fusion of native and foreign cuisines is a part of acculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Enculturation

The process of inheriting and disseminating norms and customs.
Celebrating traditional festivals each year is an act of enculturation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023
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Acculturation

The exchange of cultural features that results when groups come into continuous firsthand contact.
Wearing western attire along with traditional jewelry can be seen as acculturation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Enculturation

The means by which social values and norms are passed down.
Dressing in traditional attire during cultural ceremonies exemplifies enculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Acculturation

The process of adapting to and adopting aspects of another culture.
Immigrants celebrating Thanksgiving in the US demonstrate acculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Enculturation

The internalization of one's inherent cultural practices.
Learning native folk songs from parents is a form of enculturation.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Acculturation

The phenomenon of cultural change due to continuous external influence.
Adopting western business practices in a traditionally eastern corporate environment is acculturation.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 21, 2023

Enculturation

The process by which an individual adopts the behaviour patterns of the culture in which they are immersed.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

The modification of the culture of a group or individual as a result of contact with a different culture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Enculturation

The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture;
The socialization of children to the norms of their culture
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

The process by which the culture of a particular society is instilled in a human from infancy onward.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

A process by which the culture of an isolated society changes on contact with a different one.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

A process by which a person acquires the culture of the society that they inhabit, starting at birth.
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

The adoption of the behavior patterns of the surrounding culture;
The socialization of children to the norms of their culture
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

All the knowledge and values shared by a society
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Acculturation

The process of assimilating new ideas into an existing cognitive structure
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Shumaila Saeed
Oct 19, 2023

Repeatedly Asked Queries

Does enculturation involve learning a language?

Yes, language learning is a key component of enculturation as it transmits cultural values and norms.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can acculturation lead to cultural loss?

In some cases, acculturation can lead to the loss or modification of original cultural traits.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

How does acculturation differ from enculturation?

Acculturation involves adapting to and often adopting aspects of a different culture, unlike enculturation which is about one's native culture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Are family traditions part of enculturation?

Yes, family traditions are a vital part of enculturation, reflecting cultural heritage.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can travel lead to acculturation?

Travel can facilitate acculturation by exposing individuals to different cultures and practices.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

How does globalization affect acculturation?

Globalization can accelerate acculturation by increasing cross-cultural interactions and exposure.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is acculturation always voluntary?

Acculturation can be both voluntary and involuntary, often influenced by immigration or cultural integration.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Does acculturation affect identity?

Acculturation can significantly impact an individual's identity, often blending or changing their cultural perspective.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

What is enculturation?

Enculturation is the process of learning and adopting one's own culture's norms and values.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can enculturation occur throughout life?

Yes, enculturation is a continuous process that occurs throughout an individual's life.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Does acculturation require physical relocation?

Physical relocation often accelerates acculturation but is not always necessary.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can someone experience both enculturation and acculturation?

Yes, individuals can undergo enculturation within their native culture and acculturation when exposed to a different culture.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is enculturation a conscious process?

Enculturation is often subconscious, influenced by one's upbringing and surroundings.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is enculturation different for each individual?

While the process is similar, the specifics of enculturation can vary based on personal and cultural contexts.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can acculturation lead to bilingualism?

Acculturation often leads to bilingualism, especially in settings where multiple languages are used.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Are school systems part of the enculturation process?

Yes, education systems play a crucial role in enculturation, transmitting cultural norms and knowledge.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Is enculturation specific to a single culture?

Enculturation is generally specific to a person's native culture.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

How do rituals contribute to enculturation?

Rituals contribute to enculturation by reinforcing cultural beliefs and practices.
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Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Can media influence acculturation?

Media is a significant factor in acculturation, especially in spreading different cultural elements globally.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

Are cultural festivals a form of enculturation?

Yes, participating in cultural festivals is a key aspect of enculturation, celebrating and preserving cultural heritage.
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed
Nov 25, 2023

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About Author
Shumaila Saeed
Written by
Shumaila Saeed
Shumaila Saeed, an expert content creator with 6 years of experience, specializes in distilling complex topics into easily digestible comparisons, shining a light on the nuances that both inform and educate readers with clarity and accuracy.

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