The term acculturation refers to the ingrowth of a person in their cultural environment through education. In general, the term refers to adolescents at the stage of adolescence. But it can also be the process of assimilation adult meant familiarize yourself with them a foreign culture as immigrants, as well as the adaptation of social cultures of neighboring cultures (cf. inculturation ). In contrast, enculturation refers to the unconscious uncontrolled socialization, especially before the stage of adolescence in adolescents, such as in neonates, infants and children.

Education and acculturation

Acculturation takes place mainly through education and partly through unplanned learning. The education in family or school serves sometimes to make adolescents with the rules and traditions of their own culture familiar, but also the type of education will be adopted at this cultural process. Every child and every young person always makes experiences, eg in groups of peers that are beyond the planned adult education processes. (Quote Karl Marx: " Social being determines consciousness. " )

At the end of a successful acculturation of the young person is familiar with their own culture, knows their unwritten laws and is " socially acceptable ", ie grow up.

Acculturation in social psychology

Processes of social change that are taking place as a result of an intensive exchange of two cultures, are also referred to as acculturation - with conquest and colonialism as extreme forms.

In migration research and the social-psychological acculturation acculturation is understood as the processes that result from the encounter of people of different cultures. According to John W. Berry, four acculturation strategies can be distinguished, depending on whether the minority group wants to maintain their own culture / should or not, and whether some form of contact between majority and minority should exist or not:

  • Maintaining one's own culture with contact to the majority: Integration
  • Maintaining one's own culture without contact with the majority: segregation or separation
  • Giving up their own culture with contact to the majority: assimilation, inclusion and
  • Giving up their own culture without contact with the majority: marginalization, exclusion and

A sophisticated model of cultural adaptation of the German - American social psychologist Erik Erikson in 1950 in his book Childhood and Society ( New York, German Childhood and Society 1957) submitted. Also according to your own field research at two U.S. Indian tribes, he developed a consisting of eight phases, stage model of psychosocial development, which covers the entire life span. Key concepts of this concept are " ego-identity " - and, when unsuccessful identity formation - " identity diffusion ".