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Cultural Assimilation

What is assimilation? Is there a hidden cost to the individual? Is there a gain or lost? Is it realistic or not and why? give reasons and examples.(2 1/2 page paper).

I need suggestions and ideas for these questions. The more infromation and examples the better. Thank you.

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One approach to help you with this paper is to answer each question through discussion and research from various sources, which you can then draw on for your final 2 1/2 page paper. This is the approach this response takes.


1. What is assimilation?

Assimilation is an intense process of consistent integration whereby individual members of an ethno-cultural group, typically immigrants, or other minority groups, are "absorbed" into an established, generally larger community ((http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_assimilation). Said another way, assimilation is the process by which individuals from one cultural group merge, or "blend," into a second group. The concept of assimilation originated in anthropology and generally refers to a group process, although assimilation can also be defined and examined at the individual level (http://www.enotes.com/public-health-encyclopedia/assimilation).

The process of individual assimilation is facilitated by education, and by conformity to the linguistic and most prevalent cultural norms that are valued within the dominant society. Within the United States, the dominant society (the "Anglo Saxon cultural value system") includes the values of individuality, freedom, democracy, and achievement orientation, efficiency and practicality, and science and technology. Thus, for immigrants coming to the United States, learning English is one of several changes necessary for successfully entering and participating in the social institutions of the dominant culture (http://www.enotes.com/public-health-encyclopedia/assimilation). Thus, in this sense, assimilation offers financial gains to the individual(s).

2. Is there a hidden cost to the individual? Is there a gain or lost?

However, the individual looses many other original 'cultural' characteristics and gains traits associated with the dominant society instead. Assimilation presumes a loss of many individual characteristics, which make the newcomers different. A region or society where assimilation is occurring is sometimes referred to as a melting pot.

Does a loss of cultural identity harm the individual's psyche? There is some evidence to suggest it does in some case. Since assimilation is the state of change, stress is often linked to individual change. For example, when new immigrants enter a country, the surrounding people try to change the immigrants into what their culture or society expects. Sooner or later the immigrants will no longer seem to be immigrants, they will seem to be similar to every one else because of assimilation. For some, this loss of identity is a great grievance, while for others, it is an individual choice and considered at least necessary. However, in other cases assimilation is forced upon a group of individuals, as is usually the case with the receiving "host" group or ...

Solution Summary

This solution explores aspects of the concept of assimilation e.g. definition, hidden costs to the individual, gains or losses, and if it is realistic or not, and why. Provides rationale and examples.