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Cultural Difference - Research Paper Example

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Understanding Cultural Differences Ethnic identity People from different cultures are distinct from each other because of the cultural context in which they develop. Thus they have not just different norms, rules and rituals, but also different ways of making and eating food and different clothes (Hall, 2005)…
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Download file to see previous pages People from the same ethnic group share an understanding of not only certain specific types of music, history, food and cultural celebrations, but also of attitudes, ethics and modes of behavior (Hall, 2005). The ethnic identity helps people form affiliations with others of the same ethnic background and also helps differentiate them from others of different backgrounds (Lott, 2010). A shared ethnic identity is often confused with shared racial, national or cultural identity. Although there is a significant overlap between these terms, they are not completely interchangeable (Lott, 2010). Although most persons who share an ethnic identity are likely to also share a racial identity, it is not necessarily so. While race refers to the biological and genetic similarities amongst people, and cultural identity refers to a shared set of mores, norms and rules; ethnic identity spans both these concepts (Mio, Barker, Tumambing, 2011). It combines physical similarities along with cultural ones to form a distinct group that can share differences from others who have similar racial or cultural background (Hall, 2005). While ethnic identity also carries with it some notion of national or regional belongingness; sharing an ethnic identity does not require people to share the same physical location (Hall, 2005). ...
This is particularly true for immigrants who may choose to adapt to a new ethnic identity while simultaneously trying to preserve their original identity (Mio, Barker, Tumambing, 2011). Acculturation The process through which people are likely to absorb elements of other cultures without accepting them completely is called Acculturation (Hall, 2005). Acculturation occurs for groups as well as for individuals at both the physical and the psychological levels. Typically, physical acculturation is more visible as it is reflected in the clothing, food, eating habits and language used by the individuals (Hall, 2005). On the other hand, psychological acculturation occurs through a modification in the attitudes, values, beliefs and feelings that people have towards other individuals, activities and objects (Lott, 2010). Often, psychological acculturation is not visible, and may not be noticed for a long time (Hall, 2005) as they are intimate and occur at the individual level. At the group level on the other hand, the changes due to acculturation may be observed through politics, demographic changes and economic behavior (Hall, 2005). Acculturation may be differentiated from assimilation and fusion of cultures. Assimilation refers to a situation where a minority group is absorbed into the majority and thus loses its independent identity, while a fusion of cultures occurs when two or more cultures merge to form a new composite culture (Hall, 2005) that retains some elements of all original cultures, but the identities of none. Acculturation occurs when a minority culture learns and accepts some elements of the dominant culture, but retains its original identity to a great ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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