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Difference between acculturation and transculturation

The difference between acculturation and transculturation lies in the fact that acculturation is the process of assimilating a new culture through cultural contact, while transculturation expands this process, incorporating the loss of elements and the creation of a new cultural identity.

What is acculturation?

In the social sciences, the acculturation indicates the process of assimilating cultural practices or traits after cultural contact occurs.

In cultural anthropology, the term acculturation refers to cultural contact and the acquisition of a new culture. The word acculturation is derived from the English term acculturation which identifies a native culture and a host culture, the processes and effects of the encounter.

When acculturation takes place, there is an exchange of cultural practices. By involving at least two cultures, this process can be characterized as asymmetric. This means that one of the cultures involved may have more weight and be less influenced by the other less dominant cultures.

In any case, thanks to the fact that there is an assimilation of elements from one culture to another, acculturation also means that the culture that adopts these elements ends up sharing certain similarities with the culture from which they come.

What is transculturation?

The transculturation is a more recent term that gives more depth to the processes of cultural assimilation, through the notion of enrichment and loss of elements of the cultures involved to create a new one.

The term transculturation was first coined by the Cuban anthropologist Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969) as an effort to define the English term more exhaustively. acculturation in Spanish.

In this sense, Ortiz defines transculturation as the processes of formation and consolidation of a new culture from the union of two more.

Fernando Ortiz incorporates with transculturation the notions of both enrichment and loss of one’s own culture to create a new cultural identity. In addition, it distinguishes three stages in transculturation:

  1. Acculturation: acquisition of elements of the new host culture, such as the incorporation of foreign customs such as clothing in indigenous peoples,
  2. Deculturation: uprooting or loss of elements of native or ancient culture, such as the loss of mother tongues.
  3. Neoculture: emergence of a new culture and cultural identity such as the creation of Creole food.

See also Advantages and disadvantages of globalization.

Ever Arrieta

Technical review by Ever Arrieta

Bachelor of Philosophy (2009) from the National University of Costa Rica; Master’s degree in History, International Relations and Cooperation (2013), in Translation and Language Services (2015) and in Multimedia (2017) from the University of Porto.

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