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Difference Between Enculturation 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. Enculturation is the process by which an individual learns the norms and values of a culture through unconscious repetition. On the other hand, cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as Acculturation. Enculturation is possessing one’s own culture, whereas acculturation is the merge of two cultures.

Comparison Chart

EnculturationAcculturation
DefinitionEnculturation is the process by which an individual learns the norms and values of a culture through unconscious repetition.Cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as Acculturation.
Number of CulturesEnculturation is possessing one’s own culture.Acculturation is the merge of two cultures.
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What is Enculturation?

Enculturation is the process by which an individual learns the norms and values of a culture through unconscious repetition. The baby born starts learning culture with process of social interaction with the people living in the similar society. This is not a deliberate or forced teaching to an individual, it comes through the interaction with people of the society and with unconscious repetition of norms and values. Every of the society has its own norms, beliefs, values, arts, and customs, and one learns them from the society for the society as one not knowing about the specific culture will surely find it difficult to interact with the people of the society. The cultural contrast can make a huge difference, for instance, in West it is alright for the women to wear skirts, bikinis as this is something they have inherited as part of their culture, whereas in countries like Saudi Arabia females are asked to wear veil and interact less with the ‘unknown’ males of the society.

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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. 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.

Enculturation vs. Acculturation

  • Enculturation is the process by which an individual learns the norms and values of a culture through unconscious repetition. On the other hand, cultural modification of an individual, group, or people as a result of prolonged contact with the people of other culture is known as Acculturation.
  • Enculturation is possessing one’s own culture, whereas acculturation is the merge of two cultures.
  • The cultural contrast can make a huge difference, for instance, in West it is alright for the women to wear skirts, bikinis as this is something they have inherited as part of their culture, whereas in countries like Saudi Arabia females are asked to wear veil and interact less with the ‘unknown’ males of the society.
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Aimie Carlson

Aimie Carlson is an English language enthusiast who loves writing and has a master degree in English literature. Follow her on Twitter at @AimieCarlson