Acculturation - Definition and Explanation

Acculturation – Definition and Explanation

Understanding Acculturation: Definition, Examples, and Importance in DEI

Acculturation is a pivotal concept in the realm of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), profoundly influencing societal dynamics. This process involves the exchange and integration of cultural beliefs, values, and practices between different cultural groups. 


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Acculturation refers to the process through which individuals or groups adopt the cultural norms, behaviours, and practices of another cultural group, often due to prolonged contact or interaction. It encompasses both the preservation of one’s own cultural identity and the adoption of elements from other cultures. Acculturation can occur voluntarily or as a result of forced circumstances such as colonisation or migration.

Importance of Acculturation in DEI:

In the context of DEI initiatives, acculturation holds immense significance. It promotes cultural exchange, mutual understanding, and respect among diverse groups, fostering inclusivity and reducing cultural biases. By embracing acculturation, organisations and societies can create environments where individuals from different cultural backgrounds feel valued and empowered.


  1. Food and Cuisine: A classic example of acculturation is the fusion of culinary traditions from different cultures. For instance, the widespread popularity of dishes like sushi burritos, which combine Japanese sushi with Mexican flavours, exemplifies how culinary practices can evolve through acculturation.
  2. Language: Language is another area profoundly influenced by acculturation. For instance, Spanglish, a blend of Spanish and English spoken by many Hispanic-Americans, illustrates how language adapts and evolves as a result of cultural interaction.
  3. Fashion and Clothing: Acculturation is evident in fashion trends that incorporate elements from various cultures. For example, the growing popularity of traditional Indian textiles like sarees and kurta tops in Western fashion reflects the influence of acculturation in clothing styles.


Acculturation is a multifaceted process that shapes cultural identities and societal dynamics. In the realm of DEI, understanding and embracing acculturation are essential for building inclusive communities and organisations. By fostering mutual respect and appreciation for diverse cultural perspectives, acculturation paves the way for a more harmonious and equitable society.


Berry, J. W. (2006). Acculturation: A conceptual overview. Acculturation and parent-child relationships, 13-32.

Berry, J. W. (2006). Contexts of acculturation. The Cambridge handbook of acculturation psychology27(42), 328-336.

Berry, J. W. (2005). Acculturation. In Culture and human development (pp. 263-273). Psychology Press.

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