Enculturation is the process by
which the values and norms of a society
are passed on to or acquired by its members.
The concept of enculturation has
not been given an appropriate definition. It 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
Herskovits' definition includes
a process of novel change and inquiry. Two phases of enculturation, according to
Herskovits, can be distinguished: the "unconscious" stage of early years in
human growth, where the individual "unconsciously" internalizes his culture; the
"conscious" stage of later years, which involves innovations initiated by
individuals. Herskovits contends that these two phases constitute the total process of
enculturation. The problem in arbitrary separation of the early years from the later in
human learning and teaching lies in that this separation is contradictory to psychological
findings, existential, Gestalt, and "personological.
The cultural learning of
childhood is also reflective and conscious, although it must be admitted that a greater or
lesser degree of cultural internalization does go on "unconsciously" in
individuals and cultures. It is necessary to reduce the cleavage between the two phases
and to emphasize the continuity that develops throughout the entire process of human life.
It is proposed that enculturation be defined as a construct, and a process in a behavioral
sense, that delineates transmission and transmutation of culture throughout human growth.
Cultural transmission is a process of acquiring the existing culture; cultural
transmutation, on the other hand is a process of psychosocial mutation. 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,
Abstract: Referring to the work of Milton Gordon, the author discusses 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 defined as 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 four composite psychological characteristics -
concern, tolerance, internationalism, and pluralism. These characteristics are related to
the social process factors of immigration, minority assimilation, ethnic communality, and economic predominance.
Vietnamese immigrants are an example of a group which is assimilated linguistically,
racially, and sociopolitically into Asian- and French-speaking groups. Reasons given
include the desirability of joining a thriving and self-sustaining cultural group, the
wish to share linguistic and cultural preferences, and common values. The differences
between identification assimilation and enculturation are described.
ENCULTURATION INTO SECRECY AMONG JUNIOR HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS
DON E. MERTEN - Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Vol. 28, No. 2, 107-137 (1999)
Abstract: Secrecy has long 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 and often depersonalized secrets when using them as
social currency. The absence of a concept of privacy contributed to the instrumental use
of secrets. Using secrets to shape friendship and enhance social position was part of the
larger process whereby secrecy became a vehicle for developing subjective reason and an
exchange perspective among these girls. 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)
Abstract: How a particular social form, going-with, shapes the experiences of early
adolescents as they begin their enculturation into romance. Examining going-with as a
social form rather than as merely an activity illuminates some of the problems created by
this social form as it constitutes the context in which individuals are obliged to pursue
their attraction to each other. The contention here is that the way this social form is
constituted and construed in this junior high school results in patterns of interaction
and meanings that negatively affect the realization of romance.
The Dynamics in the
Enculturation and the Work in the Assistant Principalship
Catherine Marshall, Vanderbilt University, William Greenfield, Louisiana State University,
Urban Education, Vol. 22, No.1 (1987)
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: How hearing loss impacts an individuals enculturation. Anthropologists
have ignored how such a factor affects enculturation. A case study to examine and
illustrate 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,
Source: OSSC Bulletin, v17 n5 Jan 1974
Abstract: Two polar views of the proper purpose of schooling are discussed, education for
maturity and education for enculturation. The opinion set forth is that 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;
they contribute only in a limited way to the maturity of the participant or spectator. It
is felt that sociologists of sport can and
should actively contribute to a more humane system of school athletics by addressing
themselves to policy-related questions.
Multidimensional enculturation: The case of an EFL Chinese doctoral student -
Source: Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, Volume 15, Number 1, 2005.
Abstract: Examines the disciplinary enculturation experience of a Chinese doctoral
student. Refers to Lave and Wengers (1991) concept of legitimate peripheral
participation (LPP) as the theoretical background of the study. Presents the case of Fei,
a doctoral student of physics in a major university in East China, focusing on his
interactions with specialist texts, the supervisor, and the research community. Casts
Feis experience in the light of LPP. Emphasizes the value of naturalistic case
studies in extending English educators scope of vision of academic enculturation.