10 Examples of Transculturation

The word transculturation comes from the anthropological discipline, in particular Fernando Ortiz Fernández, who in a study of Cuban historical-cultural roots observed the question that the cultural forms of social groups, not being static, gradually receive and adopt some cultural forms from other groups. For instance: migratory flows, colonization.

The transculturation process It may be more or less abrupt, but its central issue is the question that one culture ends up replacing another. In general, this transformation takes at least a few years, and replacement between generations is the fundamental fact of changes in cultural patterns.

Forms and examples of transculturation

However, transculturation is never a passive phenomenon, which occurs only by the passage of time. Rather, it is observed that it can develop through different pathways:

Migratory flows

Many times, cultural patterns from one place are modified by the arrival of migratory flows from one area to another. A large number of countries, especially those in Latin America, explain its current characteristics based on the groups that came to it. In this way, it is conceivable that in a country that has certain guidelines, a group of people even larger than the one currently living would arrive, and part of the guidelines of a foreign cultural group would be absorbed. Some examples of this can be:

  1. The social mixing that occurred in Peru with many people from Japan caused a mixture to take place in the culinary sense.
  2. The way of speaking the Spanish language in the River Plate area was slightly modified due to the huge influx of people who arrived from Italy and Spain.
  3. Almost all cities have a Chinatown, which has the cultural guidelines of China (a product of the heavy immigration received) but is accessible to all who live in the city.


The colonization it is the imposition of new cultural forms through political occupation, often including here the establishment of sanctions or penalties for those who leave the new established forms. The process is forced, but nevertheless it is the reason for many cultural changes of all time. Some examples can be cited:

  1. Although it is a religion, Christianity and fundamental values ​​were promoted in America from the political occupation of the colonies.
  2. Although it is not a formal colonization, during the Malvinas War in Argentina, the government prohibited the dissemination of cultural guidelines in the English language. This produced the appearance of new cultural forms, transformations of the content in English to the Spanish language.
  3. The English language in the United States responds to the territorial control that the British Crown had, until the year 1776.

Economic and cultural exchanges

The economic and cultural exchanges they achieve the penetration of a cultural form in the place that before there was another. Many times it occurs because the members of the group that adopts the new forms observe the new patterns as better, and other times it occurs only through market mechanisms.

It’s about a imitation process, strongly favored by today’s technological advances. Some examples of transculturations of this type are:

  1. At present, the competitiveness that Chinese industry has with respect to many countries means that its products reach the whole world, transforming the cultural patterns of the places where it arrives.
  2. The diffusion of new technologies modified the music that is listened to in most of the western countries, existing dozens of artists that can be listened to at the same time in many places.
  3. The preeminent political system today (liberal-type democracy) was asserting itself in the world through imitation between different countries.

Claiming abandoned cultural patterns

One can think of the possibility that a country may choose to replace the cultural guidelines of a moment by others that it has had in a previous time. It is a return of values ​​in force in another time, something that does not happen frequently but is possible.

Those claim processes of the cultural patterns of ancient or original civilizations could be seen as examples of this type of transculturation.

Rejections and supports

There are many authors of anthropology and sociology who strongly oppose transculturation processes by political impositions but above all by imitation, which is undoubtedly the most frequent phenomenon of this type today.

Although they are correct in affirming that countries cultures They are tending to resemble each other more and more instead of differentiating themselves as they should, it is also correct that with transculturation many more cultural guidelines reach many more people.