Difference between Enculturation and Acculturation

Enculturation and Acculturation are two different types of socialisation processes. Socialisation happens when all individuals play their respective role in society. A process that helps an individual to imbibe social values, customs and norms is called enculturation. While in acculturation, a two-way change happens when two cultures meet. Both these terms are often used in sociology and social anthropology. Learning different aspects of another culture that also helps an individual to strive forward within a society comes under the study of acculturation. On a broader perspective, acculturation means getting used to a culture while enculturation means getting into a culture.


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    This process of socialisation helps an individual to acquire social norms and values, behaviours and languages. Along with social norms and values, the other cultural values also comes under enculturation. It is interesting that our loved ones also help us acquire certain knowledge of our surroundings. Parents, siblings and peers give us the necessary push to make an individual a better person within society. Though in enculturation, we talk about a scientific approach but in general terms as this very theory applies to every individual with an instinctive approach. Awareness is the main key when it automatically gives you education as to which behaviours are socially acceptable and which need to be avoided. The process of socialisation in society always takes place with direct and indirect approaches as well. This socialisation also helps you to properly fit in to the culture. According to new studies, enculturation and acculturation are considered the same terms but the way in which they are studied and researched is quite different.

    - Image Courtesy: internal.psychology.illinois.edu

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    When two different cultures meet, the process of socialisation is called acculturation. Unlike enculturation, in acculturation, you can see physical and psychological changes happening. These changes or differences can be in clothing, language and customs. Sometimes these effects or changes from language or customs can be seen within one particular society especially in minorities as well. Anthropologists and sociologists also advocate this idea that it is not compulsory that acculturation only happens when two cultures meet. They believe that within one society through minorities, you can see the acculturation process happening.

    - Image Courtesy: en.wikibooks.org

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