Cultural assimilation

Cultural assimilation is the process in which a minority group or culture comes to resemble a dominant group[1] or assume the values, behaviors, and beliefs of another group.[1] A conceptualization describes cultural assimilation as similar to acculturation[2][3] while another merely considers the former as one of the latter's phases.[1] Assimilation could also involve the so-called additive acculturation wherein, instead of replacing the ancestral culture, an individual expands their existing cultural repertoire.[2]

Overview

Cultural assimilation may involve either a quick or a gradual change depending on circumstances of the group. Full assimilation occurs when members of a society become indistinguishable from those of the dominant group.

Whether it is desirable for a given group to assimilate is often disputed by both members of the group and those of the dominant society. Cultural assimilation does not guarantee social alikeness. Geographical and other natural barriers between cultures, even if created by the dominant culture, may be culturally different.[2]Cultural assimilation can happen either spontaneously or forcibly (see forced assimilation). A culture can spontaneously adopt a different culture. Also, older, richer, or otherwise more dominant cultures can forcibly absorb subordinate cultures.

The term “assimilation” is often used with regard to not only indigenous groups but also immigrants settled in a new land. A new culture and new attitudes toward the origin culture are obtained through contact and communication. Assimilation assumes that a relatively-tenuous culture gets to be united to one unified culture. That process happens by contact and accommodation between each culture. The current definition of assimilation is usually used to refer to immigrants, but in multiculturalism, cultural assimilation can happen all over the world and within varying social contexts and is not limited to specific areas. For example, a shared language gives people the chance to study and work internationally, without being limited to the same cultural group. People from different countries contribute to diversity and form the "global culture" which means the culture combined by the elements from different countries. That "global culture" can be seen as a part of assimilation, which causes cultures from different areas to affect one another.