The acculturation it is a process of imposing changes to a culture. When two cultural groups are related and mutually modify. When the relationship between them implies domination of one over the other, that is, it is asymmetric, the dominant culture imposes its norms, customs and cultural guidelines. For instance: religious beliefs, emigration, use of foreign words.
When one culture prevails over another, the dominated people it loses its own culture, it may even lose its own language and way of life. Instead, he assimilates the cultural elements of the dominant culture.
Acculturation can occur in a violent way (with armed confrontations) or in a peaceful way, through economic and technological power of the dominant culture, or by a combination of both. The current phenomenon of globalization presents various processes of acculturation through both violent and peaceful means. Colonization is an example of violent forms of acculturation.
The cultural domination it can occur within the same society, in which groups with greater political and economic power impose their tastes, customs and values. The difference between what is considered “good taste” and what is considered “vulgar” is an expression of cultural domination.
Acculturation is not a one-off event but takes place over time, systematically and consistently.
Examples of acculturation
- Loss of Native American Languages. Although some human groups still use the indigenous languages learned from their ancestors, such as Quechua, Guaraní, Aymara and Nahuatl, most of the descendants of the colonized do not preserve the language of our ancestors. Instead, Spanish and Portuguese are spoken in Latin America, and English and French are spoken in North America. In contrast, in Africa, where a violent process of colonization also took place, although French is the official language in most countries, there is the highest percentage of bilingual, trilingual and polyglot people.
- Religious beliefs. During the conquest of America, one of the colonization factors was the missions, religious orders that sought to evangelize the aborigines.
- Emigration. Some human groups, when settling in other countries, maintain their customs and beliefs, and they achieve it thanks to staying in community. However, many others lose their customs and even their language, starting with the second generation.
- Consumption of foreign products. The consumption of certain products leads to the adoption of new customs.
- Use of foreign words. We currently use English words without even knowing how to translate them into Spanish.