Chapter 12: Living in Multicultural Worlds
Difficulties in Studying Acculturation
- Acculturation: the process by which people migrate to and learn a culture that is
different from their original/heritage culture.
- Few commonalities occur for all acculturating individuals and this makes it
challenging to identifying common patterns.
- Migrants: those who move from a heritage culture to a host culture and include those
who intend to stay only temporarily (sojourners) and those who intend to move
What Happen When People Move to a New Culture?
- Changes in attitudes toward the host culture
Honeymoon Stage: initially, people tend to view their experiences in new
cultures to be pleasant and exciting (tourists).
Crisis of Culture Shock: the earlier thrill of having novel experiences wears off
and these experiences become tiring and difficult (recent migrants experience
Culture Shock: the feeling of being anxious, helpless, irritable and homesick that
one experiences on moving to a new culture.
Adjustment: after the crisis stage, most people start to adjust and begin to enjoy
their experiences more (tends to extend over a number of years).
○ Reverse Culture Shock: find themselves puzzling over why they do not
quite feel at home any more in their home country.
○ In homogenous societies (Japan), the adjustment phase takes longer than
heterogeneous countries (US).
- Who adjusts better?
Cultural Distance: the difference between two cultures in their overall ways of
○ The more cultural distance someone travels, the more difficult that person
○ Language and establishing interpersonal relationships with members of the
host culture are some predictors of ease of acculturation.
○ People do not have to leave their country to be confronted with the need to
acculturate to new set of values (different cultures in different areas).
Cultural Fit: the degree to which an individual’s personality is more similar to the
dominant cultural values in the host culture.
○ The greater the cultural fit of a person with the host culture, the more easily
he should acculturate to it.
○ People with more independent self-concepts would be a better cultural fit in
individualistic societies (US).
Integration Strategy: attempting to fit in and fully participate in the host culture
while at the same time striving to maintain the traditions of one’s heritage
○ Most common strategy people pursue (best of both worlds).
1 ○ The strategy that results in the lowest degree of acculturative stress.
2 Marginalization Strategy: involves little/no effort to participate in the host culture
or to maintain the traditions of the heritage culture.
○ Least common strategy (negative view towards both cultures).
Assimilation Strategy: attempt to fit in and fully participate in the host culture
while making little/no effort to maintain the traditions of one’s heritage culture.
○ Potential cost is the loss of one’s heritage culture and accompanying social
support networks and a sense of disconnection with the past.
Separation Strategy: involves efforts to maintain the traditions of the heritage
culture while making little/no effort to participate in the host culture.
○ Bear the cost of rejecting the host culture and is accompanied by the
individuals being rejected by the host culture too.
Need for Cognitive Closure (NCC): a desire to have a definite answer to a
○ People high in NCC will adopt an acculturation strategy that is affected by
their early experiences in the host culture.
○ People high in NCC who connect with their compatriots at the beginning of
their sojourn will adopt a separation strategy; if not connected, they will
adopt an assimilation strategy.
○ People low in NCC will not be affected by their initial experiences in the
new culture and will not be as influenced by the social network they first
- Pitfalls of Acculturation:
People adopt even the bad and unhealthy customs by the host country
(smoking, drinking and unhealthy eating causing obesity).
○ Japanese – having the longest life expectancy, moving to the US are more
likely to get a coronary heart disease than those who stay in Japan (those
who acculturated with American lifestyle).
○ People become more obese as they acculturate to the US customs.
Many immigrant groups ar