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Chapter 12

Textbook Ch. 12: Living in Multicultural Worlds

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Nick Rule

CHAPTER 12 LIVING IN MULTICULTURAL WORLDS Difficulties in Studying Acculturation - acculturation is the process by which people migrate to and learn a culture that is different from their original (or heritage) culture - reaching consistent conclusions is difficult because acculturating individuals have such widely varying experiences - people move to a new country for many reasons, to dramatically different kinds of environments (cultural ghettos, homogenous neighbourhood where they stand out), that vary in their similarity to their heritage culture - individuals have different personalities, goals, and expectations that affect their acculturation experience What Happens When People Move to a New Culture? Changes in Attitudes Toward the Host Culture - migrants, those who move from a heritage culture to a host culture - sojourners only intend to stay temporarily, immigrants intend to move permanently - (Lysgaard, 1955) identified an adjustment pattern - in initial months, migrants had an especially positive time (“honeymoon stage”) - most then begin to have increasingly negative views toward their host culture, between 6-18months (“crisis” or “culture shock stage”) - culture shock, the feeling of being anxious, helpless, irritable, and in general, homesick that one experiences on moving to a new culture - after several months, sojourners start to adjust and enjoy their experiences more (“adjustment phase”) - this U-shaped adjustment curve can occur when sojourners return to their home country - (Hsiao-Ying, 1995) tracked acculturation experiences of migrants to Japan, a very homogenous society - found an L-shaped curve which shared the honeymoon and crisis stage but found no evidence of the adjustment stage Who Adjusts Better? Cultural Distance - the difference between two cultures in their overall way of life - an indirect measure of acculturation is language performance; one of the best predictors of acculturative success - average scores on TOEFL test higher in countries where the language is highly similar to English (Dutch, German) and lower in highly distant language groups (Japanese) - (Ward & Kennedy, 1995) compared the adjustment of Malaysian university students in New Zealand and Singapore - students completed a measure of sociocultural adjustment that assess their daily problems in navigating through the new culture - after 3 years of study, Malaysian students had an easier time getting by in Singapore - other studies have found that sojourners from more distant countries - suffer from more distress, require more medical consultations - have difficulty establishing and maintaining interpersonal relationships with members of the host country - various indigenous groups have had to adjust to a culture imposed on them - Tsimshian, engaged in subsistence practices that allowed them to accumulate large quantities of food and establish permanent, highly stratified settlements - Eastern Cree, subsistence practices didn’t allow them to accumulate much food so that some are migratory and have low sociocultural stratification - Carrier, moderate degree of food accumulation and social stratification - (Barry & Annis, 1974) reasoned that the complex social stratification of the permanent settlements of the Tsimshian was more similar to mainstream Canadian culture - found that the Tsimshian acculturated to mainstream Canadian culture with the fewest difficulties; the Easter Cree had the most signs of stress; Carrier were intermediate Culture Fit - the degree to which an individual’s personality is more similar to the dominant cultural values in the host country - consider the personality trait of “extraversion” - (Searle & Ward, 1990) found that Malaysians and Singaporeans who scored high on extraversion demonstrated more signs of psychological well-being while living in New Zealand than those who scored low - (Armes & Ward, 1989) found that English-speakers living in Singapore who scored high on extraversion reported feeling more boredom, frustration, depression, health problems - self-concept; would seem that people with more independent self-concepts would be a better cultural fit in individualistic societies - (Cross, 1995) investigated how well students from Korea, Japan, and China fared in acculturation to the US - found a positive relation between the independence of one’s self-concept and the likelihood that one engaged in direct coping strategies - those that were particularly independent were more likely to use active strategies e.g. making a plan of action to get rid of a problem - found a positive relation between interdependence and perceived stress - in a sample of American college students who weren’t acculturating, found no relation between independence, interdependence, and stress or coping Acculturation Strategies - (Berry & Sam, 1997) proposed two critical issues to the outcome of one’s acculturation - whether people attempt to participate in the larger society of their host culture - whether people strive to maintain their own heritage culture and identity - proposed to be independent, measured by a questionnaire - integration strategy involves attempts to fit in and fully participate in the host culture while striving to maintain the traditions of one’s heritage culture - lowest degree of acculturative stress; protective features e.g. lack of prejudice and discrimination, involvement in two cultural communities and access to two support groups - marginalization strategy involves little or no effort to participate in the host culture or to maintain the traditions of the heritage culture - least common, involves loss of one’s original culture, rejection of dominant society, weakened social support - assimilation strategy involves an attempt to fit in and fully participate in the host culture while making little or no effort to maintain the traditions of one’s heritage culture - loss of one’s heritage culture and accompanying social support networks, a sense of disconnection with the past - separation strategy involves efforts to maintain the traditions of the heritage culture while making little or no effort to participate in the host culture - cost of rejecting host culture and its protective features, often accompanied by the individuals being rejected by the host culture - a variety of factors influence which strategy likely be pursued - a person will not strive to fit into the host culture if that culture shows a great deal of prejudice toward the individual’s own cultural group - more physically distinct ethnic groups are likely to experience more prejudice and actively support collective efforts to benefit their group’s social position - people of low SES or are members of indigenous cultural groups are more likely to pursue separation or marginalization - societal acceptance for diversity and multiculturalism may increase likelihood of integration or assimilation strategies - need for cognitive closure (NCC), a desire to have a definite answer to a question - proposed that people high in NCC will adopt an acculturation strategy that is affected by their early experiences in the host culture - early days of acculturation are fraught with confusion and uncertainty, people high in NCC should want to combat this feeling by seeking others with whom they can connect - their initial experiences connecting with their compatriots or with the local population will largely determine their acculturation strategy - (Kosic et al., 2004) measured experiences of Croatian immigrants to Italy - immigrants completed a questionnaire that included measures of (1) NCC (2) who they had social relationships with in their first 3 months (3) a sociocultural adaption measure that assessed how well they mastered daily life in Italy - those low in NCC, initial interaction had no impact on adaption to Italian life - those high in NCC were greatly affected by initial interactions - those who socialized with Croat
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