Sociology Index


Enculturation is the process by which the values and norms of a society are passed on to or acquired by its members, and Acculturation 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. 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.

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.

Moving toward Cultural Pluralism, Part l: The Process of Enculturation. Llanes, Jose R. 
Abstract: 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-speaking and French-speaking groups. The differences between identification assimilation and enculturation are described.

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.

The Dynamics in the Enculturation and the Work in the Assistant Principalship 
Catherine Marshall, William Greenfield, 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. Mary’s University
Abstract: How hearing loss impacts an individual’s 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, Walter E. 
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.

Multidimensional enculturation: The case of an EFL Chinese doctoral student - Li, Yongyan
Source: Journal of Asian Pacific Communication, Volume 15, Number 1, 2005.
Abstract: Examines the disciplinary enculturation experience of a Chinese doctoral student. 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 Fei’s experience in the light of LPP. Emphasizes the value of naturalistic case studies in extending English educators’ scope of vision of academic enculturation.