Talk:Cultural assimilation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


Confused Notion

It seems to me that "Cultural Assimilation" is being wildly confused with "indoctrination." A group or individual can be "assimilated" into the general population without necessarily needing to do anything. The group or individual is merely accepted "as they are." It's society that changes to accomodate the "outsider." With "indoctrination," which is what is actually being defined here, it's the individual or group that much change to accomodate the customs, practices and values of the society in which they wish to be accepted.

Assimilation is a good thing and equates to acceptance. Indoctrination, however, is perhaps the highest (or lowest) form of prejudice.

Dudekabob 18:24, 31 December 2006 (UTC)

Assimilation: to render similar.
Indoctrination: to instruct in a doctrine, principle, ideology, etc., esp. to imbue with a specific partisan or biased belief or point of view.
It follows from these definition that the two phenomenons are different.
Assimilation is not a bad thing in itself. If I move to another country and adopt the language and customs of the people that welcomed me as part of their group. It is usually the immigrant who makes the effort to adapt to his/her adoptive country. Society does not learn the language of all their immigrants (obviously) and by that it is evident that it is the newcomer that changes the most. Assimilation becomes a major problem for human rights when we are talking about an entire community of language/culture that finds itself forced to adapt to the social rules of a new society. That is the history of most immigrants in history: being driven out to escape poverty, misery or simply death. -- Mathieugp 01:42, 1 January 2007 (UTC)


This page is extremely biased. This attitude seems to be pretty common in modern sociology (and is consistent with the famous "Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated" Borg mantra from Star Trek). Whether the basis for this is simply a preoccupation with ethnic or cultural identity over individual identity or a general disregard for (American/Western) culture hardly matters, it is still opinion and should not be confused with fact.

1) It presumes that assimilation is an inherently bad or forced process. As the article on Americanization (which links directly to assimilation) demonstrates this is not the case.

2) It presumes assimilation is an absolute and unidirectional process: that there is a "loss of all characteristics which make the newcomers different". This somewhat offensively implies a loss even of individual characteristics and furthermore that the absorbing culture lacks internal variety of its own. Likewise, it also presumes that it is an entirely one way process, and that the dominant culture is immutable. On a related note, it also misrepresents the notion of the melting pot along these lines. The melting pot page give a far more nuanced treatment of the topic; I would suggest that the assimilation topic be redirected to it.

Assimilation should be considered with Acculturation. The dictionary often regards them as synonymous; sociology gives them slightly different definitions, and contrasts them such that you are either assimilated into the existing culture (a social process) or acculturated to the point where you can work within it (a mental process).

The article definitely needs major cleanup. I agree with most of what you just wrote here. If you look back in the revision history, you will notice the introduction of a strong POV with the edits and rewrite of anonymous users
My original article, I believe, gave room to expansion on cases where, for example, we are talking about the harmless assimilation of an individual immigrant who personally chose to integrate a larger ethnic/national community and (I guess to the other extreme) cases where a state planned the systematic assimilation of all members of one or more ethnic groups. Obviously, we have to distinguish those.
I don't believe a redirect to Acculturation would be a good idea however precisely because of the distinction that exists between the two notions. The Assimilation article is likely to evolve to include valuable historical references and possibly deal with the politics of assimilation in various countries. However, as you pointed out, the process of acculturation has often been studied from the perpective of an individual psychological experience. -- Mathieugp 18:36, 19 August 2005 (UTC)
I believe we shouldn't confuse assimilation with integration. Integration "includes goals such as leveling barriers to association, creating equal opportunity regardless of race, and the development of a culture that draws on diverse traditions, rather than merely bringing a racial minority into the majority culture" as does assimilation. -- LucVerhelst 20:06, 22 December 2005 (UTC)
There are anthropologists and authors who disagree. Such as Sol Tax, who stated that assimilation was a myth (based on his experience with American Indians). Additionally, other anthropologists like Cavanaugh point out that groups really didn't start to 'assimilate' linguistically until the 19th century. IE, only 2% of Italians spoke Italian up until the 1860s and then it wasn't until the beginning of either WWI or WWII that only Italian was spoken. Until the advent of the monoglot and the nation-state groups didn't really 'assimilate.' I think the evidence points towards assimilation as only occuring as a forced process and likely only within the confines of nation-states.
This article only looks at the acculturation of immigrants and their families (who often want to 'assimilate') as an example of assimilation (which I contend that it is not). Completely ignoring topics like the [American] Indian boarding schools, the impact of teachers in a subtractive learning environment, IMF restructuring, coca-colonization, etc. There is definitely bias in this article, but we disagree on the what of it. (talk) 15:52, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Needs cleanup, marked accordingly. Dmaftei 20:44, 18 February 2006 (UTC)

To sociologists (and others, I think) "cultural assimilation" is the same as acculturation, but cultural assimilation is just one type of assimilation. Among the many posisble dimensions of assimilation are social, cultural, economic, and spatial assimilation. I would like to see this entry become just plain "assimilation," and parts of it that are specifically cultural merged with the acculturation entry. Somewhat Agree 05:31, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

I said that before looking at the acculturation entry, which, on inspection, is kind of a mess. I still think it's a good idea to change this entry to just plain "assimilation". Somewhat Agree 05:40, 7 March 2006 (UTC)

Since I have no knowledge of editing most articles on Wikipedia, is there a reason 'Lurk Moar' is redirecting to this? ( (talk) 12:15, 30 January 2008 (UTC))

This article is uncited. I assume the material came from the books listed in the ref section at the bottom but unless each statement is cited, preferably with page numbers, who knows? Fainites barley 10:49, 21 March 2008 (UTC)

I think that "assimilation" has a very specific connotation and mostly is relevant to the movement among particular groups of immigrants at a particular point in American history (namely Italian, Jewish, Irish, and others arriving in the U.S. around the turn of the century). I think this article does a good job of clarifying that point. I am not a sociologist, but I can attest that assimilation very much refers to the experience of my ancesters, for whom assimilation was considered to be very desirable when they arrived in the U.S. Whether or not it is/was in fact the best course of action is up for debate. The article states this, and so I feel it is unbiased. It would be biased if the article was somehow advocating that assimilation was a good thing. I think that there are ethnic and cultural groups in the United States for whom assimilation would not be the right term or the right paradigm for describing their experience. I don't think that makes the article biased though. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Baxter904 (talkcontribs) 16:16, 13 October 2014 (UTC)

I think that it would be helpful if you did not use examples without citations of cultures that have assimilated into others. By comparing Latin language, Roman empire, and other specific cultures assimilation, you are opening the door for your readers to stereotype that type of extreme assimilation each time. Also, the sentence: "Immigrant assimilation is a complex process in which immigrants not only fully integrate themselves into a new country, but also lose aspects, perhaps all of their heritage too" is completely biased. First, there is no source or academic proof that you know this concept and likewise you are assuming that they may lose anywhere from some to all of their heritage. To make this article better I think that you could expand and discuss different migrations, changes in cultures that have been assimilated, etc. Finally, I think that you are not focusing on the different types of ways that immigrants can assimilate. Whether it be through language, religion, dress, etc. I think that you could accurately report and find sites to back this up and it would explain further the different ways and varying degrees in which assimilation can occur. Sekulovs (talk) 02:32, 16 July 2015 (UTC)

I agree with the first commentPaolorausch (talk) 19:23, 16 September 2016 (UTC)

Citations Please[edit]


"A group (a state or an ethnicity) can spontaneously adopt a different culture due to its political relevance, or to its perceived superiority. The first is the case of the Latin culture and language, that were gradually adopted by most of the subjugated people.

The second is the case of subjugated, but older and richer culture, which see itself imitated by the new masters, e.g. the victorious Roman Republic adopted more from the Hellenistic cultures than it imposed in most domains, except such Roman specialities as law and the military."

Is seriously arguable (as in it has serious problems, including but not limitted to the fact that a good portion of the stuff the Roman Republic borrowed/stole/took from the Greeks they took well before they conquered Greece. In fact, it's entirely arguable that they adopted those things in imitation of the Greeks who were busily stomping them in a dozen different fields) but either way, I really want a citation proving that someone out there besides the author believes this. Seeing as how it's the definition, I'm not going to change this myself, not bold enough, but...

PS: The notion that the Hellinistic culture stuff is the 'good' form of assimilation and the Roman kind is the 'bad' kind of assimilation REALLY needs a citation. (talk) 05:20, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


"It has been found that between 1880 and 1920, the United States took in roughly 24 million immigrants.[3] This increase in immigration can be attributed to many historical changes." What increase??? You can't give one number than claim an increase. That's like saying: "I ate eight hot dogs last week, this increase was due to the fourth of July falling during the middle of last week." Do I usually eat 0 hot dogs or 7 a week? Or, do I eat twenty and am just plain weird? Context, please. (talk) 05:26, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


Why the statistics about Jews leaving the Soviet Union at all? (talk) 05:27, 19 September 2008 (UTC)


"When considering immigrant assimilation it is important to consider why immigrants migrate. One reason immigrants migrated was The 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act(IRCA), which legalized 2.3 million formally undocumented Mexican Immigrants.[3] This Act freed these newly legalized immigrants from the fear of being apprehended, and it was found that many of these immigrants moved to states beyond the nearest U.S-Mexican border.[3]."


Just What?

Okay, not just what, but what is that supposed to mean? Are we trying to draw a distinction between immigrated and migrated? Like that? Really? (talk) 05:29, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

And, Lastly:

"Hanukkah, a Jewish holiday concerning a triumph over assimilation"


Really, just what this time. (talk) 05:32, 19 September 2008 (UTC)

You have TOTALLY forgotten to add the section about the First Nations/Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island -- also known as the 'Genocide of the Native American Indians of this country'


to bring into conformity with the customs, attitudes, etc., of a group, nation, or the like; adapt or adjust: to assimilate the new immigrants.

American Indian boarding schools were created with the intention to assimilate American Indian children by forcefully removing them from their homes, cultures, and languages with the idea of transforming them into “civilized” human beings. Taken, often by force- abducted , from their homes at ages as young as four, transported to facilities remote from their families and communities, they were confined there for a decade or more and stripped of their cultural identities. They were chronically malnourished and overworked, drilled to regimental order and subjected to the harshest forms of corporal punishment, this was the lot of one in every two native youngsters in North America for five successive generations. Of those ushered into the steadily expanding system of residential schools during its first forty years or more, about half did not survive the experience. Roughly one-quarter of the American Indian population during the early twentieth century was physically destroyed by the process of schooling. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 10:42, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

Why is this article all about ethnicity?[edit]

Why is this article all about ethnicity? The topic is cultural assimilation - it's about the relationship between minority cultural groups and national majoritys, but that isn't necessarily anything to do with race. Cultural identity and race seem to be being conflated here - they are not the same thing. Gymnophoria (talk) 15:03, 3 April 2011 (UTC)

re: proposed merge of enculturation[edit]

OPPOSE merge; it's clearly a distinct concept. if this was "simplified-explanation-pedia" or "lump-everything-together-pedia", then it might make sense. but if we're mean to cover the topic of sociology seriously, then it would be inappropriate to merge these. not to mention that the articles are both of some length, & with distinctly different contents; making a merge impracticable as well as undesirable. Lx 121 (talk) 18:46, 15 January 2014 (UTC)

I also agree. that it should not be grouped. I looked up enculturation as a researcher looking into teaching beliefs and how they can often change simply due enculturation in the workplace or teaching environment. February 12, 2014 — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:21, 12 February 2014 (UTC)

Grouping concepts can be confusing and edits can end up removing the idea and definition of the concept completely. This concept is interesting and unique. I specifically looked it up to understand it more completely. Merging it would take away clarity. — Preceding unsigned comment added by ProfessorMama (talkcontribs) 02:32, 24 April 2014 (UTC)

I also agree that this should not be combined with enculturation. I am the 4th generation American of Italian immigrants. I looked up assimilation because I wanted find out the history of the concept of assimilation in the U.S. I know that assimilation was considered to be highly desirable to my great grandparents and grandparents. My parents and siblings on the other hand, are now trying to reconnect with our roots and this is very confusing to the older generations. I think this article captures perfectly that "assimilation" has a very specific meaning and context, being the context of immigrants at the turn of the century, especially Italian, Jewish, and Irish immigrants. I personally find I have a strong cultural connection to those 3 groups today even though I am 4th generation and not Jewish or Irish. It seems to me that it would be a loss to remove the documentation of this unique experience from Wikipedia. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Baxter904 (talkcontribs) 16:07, 13 October 2014 (UTC)


SSCI 2831[edit]

This article is missing some citations and does not represent a worldwide view of the subject. Therefore, I will improve these issues by adding citations where needed and add facts about this topic where it can cover a worldwide view of this subject.

Dr. Giulietti's comment on this article[edit]

Dr. Giulietti has reviewed this Wikipedia page, and provided us with the following comments to improve its quality:

Immigrant name changing as a form of assimilation

  • The article I coauthored suggests that naturalized immigrants who changed name in the US in early 1900s eventually end up in better occupations than those who did not. Americanizing one's name seems to be a strategy to circumvent discriminatory behaviour and yes, definitely a vehicle for assimilating into the American norm.

Reference: The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization, Costanza Biavaschi, Corrado Giulietti, Zahra Siddique

The article could be enriched with some recent developments on the economic impact of cultural assimilation. See Immigration and cultural integration in Europe (Alberto Bisin, Yann Algan, Alan Manning, Thierry Verdier), Oxford University Press, 2012

We hope Wikipedians on this talk page can take advantage of these comments and improve the quality of the article accordingly.

We believe Dr. Giulietti has expertise on the topic of this article, since he has published relevant scholarly research:

  • Reference : Biavaschi, Costanza & Giulietti, Corrado & Siddique, Zahra, 2013. "The Economic Payoff of Name Americanization," IZA Discussion Papers 7725, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).

ExpertIdeasBot (talk) 16:00, 12 July 2016 (UTC)


I would like to make a couple of suggestions to further improve the article: 1) What other examples in this present time would associate with assimilation. Although there are still first generation immigrants still assimilating, is there any other current group or example?

2)How does the past assimilation define out current groups today?

StoopidCat (talk) 05:58, 11 November 2016 (UTC)

Asian immigrants in Canada[edit]

Since December 2016 there has been an inappropriately huge and overly specific section [compared to the next section on "immigrants" in the US] on Asians in Canada shoehorned into the middle of the article that carries too much focus. It is Maoxiaoming (talk · contribs)'s only contributions. —suzukaze (tc) 16:00, 13 February 2017 (UTC)