This post is not what you might expect – there will be no mention of crazy Turkish driving or insane Istanbul traffic jams – although both figure prominently at times in my relationship with M.! Rather, this post is designed to
In my field, much is made of the process of migration as it relates to understanding how to engage in social work practice with immigrants and refugees. Often framed in a model that does not recognize the globalized reality in which we are all steeped – namely one that allows for trans-nationalism and biculturalism –
Alternatively, the two-dimensional model suggests that both the relationship with the traditional or ethnic culture and the relationship with the new or dominant culture play important roles in the process. Using the two-dimensional model, J. W. Berry has suggested that there are four possible outcomes of the acculturation process: assimilation (movement toward the dominant culture), integration (synthesis of the two cultures), rejection (reaffirmation of the traditional culture), or marginalization (alienation from both cultures). Similarly, Sodowsky and Plake have defined three dimensions of acculturation: assimilation, biculturalism (the ability to live in both worlds, with denial of neither), and observance of traditionality (rejection of the dominant culture).
The term “acculturation” was first used in anthropology in the late 1800s. Early studies dealt with the patterns in Indian-Spanish assimilation and acculturation in Central and South America, the consequences of contact between Native American tribes and whites, and the study of the culture of Haiti as a derivative of West African and French patterns. Increasingly, the importance of acculturation has been recognized in the social sciences, sociology, psychology, epidemiology, and public health.
The acculturation process affects a range of behaviors, values, and beliefs. All of the scales used to measure acculturation include items on second-language proficiency, because being able to communicate in the language of the host culture is a prerequisite to learning about it. Some scales also assess patterns of language use, friendship choices, food, music or movie preferences, cultural awareness, ethnic pride, place of birth, and contact with one’s homeland.