Difference Between Assimilation and Acculturation

Main Difference

The beliefs, customs, arts, etc., of a particular society, group, are known as culture and that are transmitted from one generation to another as they are recognized as the essential values one should know while living in that particular society. As soon the child is born, he/she starts knowing about the culture from the people living in that society. Assimilation and acculturation are the two widely used words in the field of sociology, they both are regarding the deviation is person or person’s culture, norms, languages and other. Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as Acculturation. This deviation or change in culture is the merger of two of the cultures. On the other hand, Assimilation is the process when the minority adopts the majority’s culture. When a person from minority group is indistinguishable from the majority, then it is called the full assimilation as this term is used for the cultural adaptation of minorities. In acculturation people retain with their original culture and gets adapted to the some of the features of the new culture, whereas in assimilation minority loses the original features of their culture and adapts the new culture, even to that extent that it gets indistinguishable from the majority living in the society.

Comparison Chart

AssimilationAcculturation
DefinitionAssimilation is the process when the minority adopts the majority’s culture.Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as acculturation.
AdaptationIn assimilation minority loses the original features of their culture and adapts the new culture, even to that extent that it gets indistinguishable from the majority living in the society.In acculturation people retain with their original culture and gets adapted to the some of the features of the new culture.

What is Assimilation?

It is the terms used for deviation is culture of minority with respect to the majority. In assimilation minority loses the original features of their culture and adapts the new culture, even to that extent that it gets indistinguishable from the majority living in the society. Assimilation can either be a slow change or a gradual process, and the minority loses the main cultural features like language, food and customs. The process of assimilation is known as the one way process as it is said that minority adopts majority’s culture and when it gets to its fullest in adaptation and gets indistinguishable from the majority person or persons it is known as full assimilation. But actually the assimilation is a two-way process, it also has influence on the majority’s culture but that remains unnoticeable as it might be that minor so that it could be avoided. In a common mindset, the process of assimilation takes place in the forced coexistence or as the result of conquests. The best example of assimilation is the migrants adopting the majority’s culture deliberately or undeliberately to get mix with them and to remain indistinguishable from the natives.

What is Acculturation?

Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people by adapting to or borrowing traits from another culture is called acculturation. It usually happens when individual in infancy gets exposure to more than one culture or an individual has prolonged contact with the people of other culture while living in their society. For instance, a refugee or immigrant living in the society can acquire, adapt or borrow traits from another culture or the people living in that particular society can even be get cultural influence by the immigrants. In acculturation one gets blend of both the cultures he witness while living in the society. The other common example of acculturation is of the individual who went in any other country for educational or work purpose for a short time of 1-2 years , he/she is seen with a clear change in dressing, way of thinking and other by the people of his own society.

Assimilation vs. Acculturation

  • Assimilation is the process when the minority adopts the majority’s culture, whereas cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as acculturation.
  • In acculturation people retain with their original culture and gets adapted to the some of the features of the new culture, whereas in assimilation minority loses the original features of their culture and adapts the new culture, even to that extent that it gets indistinguishable from the majority living in the society.

Comparison Video

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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss

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