Sociology Index


Enculturation is the process by which the values and norms of a society are passed on to or acquired by its members. Acculturation, unlike enculturation, is adaptation to an alien culture. The concept of enculturation has not been given an appropriate definition. The term enculturation has been used inconsistently in anthropology as well as in other fields. Various anthropologists have tended to regard enculturation as consisting of such processes as socialization, the acquiring of culture, and cultural internalization, excluding an innovative process of enculturation.

Herskovits' definition of enculturation includes a process of novel change and inquiry. Phases of enculturation which constitute the process of enculturation are: the "unconscious" stage of early years, where the individual "unconsciously" internalizes his culture; the "conscious" stage, which involves innovations. The problem in arbitrary separation of the early years from the later is contradictory to psychological findings, existentialism, Gestalt, and personological.

It is proposed that enculturation be defined as a construct that delineates transmission and transmutation of culture throughout human growth. Enculturation, thus, involves innovation and inquiry which is a particular type of epistemological sensivity to culture. It is a bipolar process. - Nobuo Shimahara, Enculturation - A Reconsideration, Current Anthropology, Vol. 11, No. 2 (Apr., 1970).

Moving toward Cultural Pluralism, Part l: The Process of Enculturation. Llanes, Jose R. 
Two theories of social integration. Theory of assimilation is defined as a process of social and psychological adherence to a core society. Theory of pluralism is a compounding of different activities and values to make up a group spirit. The enculturation of people in San Francisco is discussed in terms of psychological characteristics. These characteristics are related to factors of immigration, minority assimilation, ethnic communality, and economic predominance. The differences between identification assimilation and enculturation are described.

DON E. MERTEN - Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 28, No. 2, 107-137 (1999)
Secrecy has been recognized as an important, and at times problematic, aspect of social life. Girls' accounts of their enculturation into secrecy reveal how they treated secrets as social objects. Girls also depersonalized secrets when using them as social currency. Enculturation into secrecy involved much more than learning whom to tell which secrets under what circumstance.

GOING-WITH - The Role of a Social Form in Early Romance - DON E. MERTEN, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 24, No. 4 (1996).
How a particular social form, going-with, shapes the experiences of early adolescents as they begin their enculturation into romance.

The Dynamics in the Enculturation and the Work in the Assistant Principalship 
Catherine Marshall, William Greenfield, Urban Education, Vol. 22, No.1 (1987).
Enculturation of assistant principals tends to result in "custodial, nonrisk-taking, noninstructional" orientations of potential educational leaders.

Incomplete Enculturation: The Role of Hearing - Grace Keyes, St. Mary’s University
How hearing loss impacts an individual’s enculturation. Anthropologists have ignored how such a factor affects enculturation. How hearing loss leads to misinterpretations that negatively impact social interaction upon which enculturation is grounded.

Sport, Socialization and the School: Toward Maturity or Enculturation? Schafer, Walter E. 
Source: OSSC Bulletin, v17 n5 Jan 1974.
Two polar views of the proper purpose of schooling are discussed, education for maturity and education for enculturation. American public schools approach more closely the enculturation rather than the maturity ideal. Interscholastic sports are held to be an important mechanism for fostering enculturation.

Multidimensional enculturation: The case of an EFL Chinese doctoral student - Li, Yongyan
Source: Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, Volume 15, Number 1, 2005.
Examines the disciplinary enculturation experience of a Chinese doctoral student. Presents the case of Fei, focusing on his interactions with specialist texts, the supervisor, and the research community. Emphasizes the value of naturalistic case studies in extending English educators’ scope of vision of academic enculturation.