What is Acculturation?

Source: The post is based on the article “What is Acculturation?” published in The Hindu on 24th August 2022.

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India, with its distinctive fusion of various cultures, has ideals that provide a deeper understanding of the concept of acculturation and its outcomes.

What is Acculturation?

The concept of acculturation was coined in 1880 by American geologist John Wesley Powel in a report for the U.S. Bureau of Ethnology.

It is defined as the process in which a person or group from one culture comes in contact with another culture, adopting the values and practices of the other while still retaining their own distinct identity.

Sociologists understand acculturation as a two-way process, wherein the minority culture adopts aspects of the majority to fit in and the culture of the majority is also influenced by that of the minority.

What is the relevance of Acculturation in the Indian context?

India’s distinctive fusion of various cultures helps significantly in understanding the concept of acculturation and its outcomes. For instance: 

– Persian culture has influenced almost all aspects of Indian society; the origins of popular food items like biryanis and faloodas and spices like saffron, and cumin seeds trace back to Persian origins.

– The Urdu language, a blend of Arabic, Persian, Turkish and Hindi, is an example of the amalgamation and transmutation of cultures.

– The architectures of Christian Churches in Kerala like the Cheriapally (small church) in Kottayam or the Pazhaya Suriyani Pally (old Syrian church) in Chengannur have marks of Hindu Temple architectural styles.

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