Meaning of Transculturation

What is Transculturation:

Transculturation is a neologism that indicates the process of assimilation of one culture by another resulting in a new cultural identity.

The concept of transculturation was introduced in the field of cultural anthropology by the Cuban Fernando Ortiz (1881-1969) as an attempt to more accurately express the English term acculturation defining the different phases of the assimilation of one culture to another.

In this sense, the anthropologist Fernando Ortiz justifies the use of the word transculturation for the incorporation of a new and different culture, since it in turn implies a process of detachment and partial or total loss of the original culture.

Transculturation is a word that seeks to more accurately define the formation and consolidation of a new culture, especially in Latin America, during and after colonization.

See also Colonization.

The cross-cultural process emphasizes the exchange of two equally complex cultures in the process of creating a new cultural identity, whether voluntary or forced.

See also cultural identity.

Examples of transculturation can be seen in all the countries of the American continent, especially in those where the indigenous culture is still distinguishable. Food is one of the aspects where transculturality is most noticeable, such as, for example, Creole foods in Mexico seasoned with many types of peppers and lemon.

See also:

  • Western culture.
  • Creole.

Characteristics of transculturation

In the social sciences, transculturation is a concept that aims to identify and define the mechanisms and historical trends that influence a given cultural identity.

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In this way, transculturation is characterized by three phases that can be defined as: acculturation, deculturation and neoculturation.

Acculturation, as the first phase of transculturation, is defined as the acquisition of a different and new culture. Deculturation is the uprooting or detachment from the preceding culture and, finally, neoculturation is the creation of new cultural phenomena.

See also Culture.

Transculturation and acculturation

Transculturation and acculturation can be used interchangeably as synonyms, despite presenting some differences stipulated by the historical origin of their meanings.

The Mexican anthropologist Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán (1908-1996) questions for the first time the use of the term transculturation as a translation from English acculturation in the work”The folk culture of Yucatan” by Robert Redford (1897-1958).

Since then, the social sciences define both concepts as the transmission of habits and customs for cultural transmission and change. Distinguishing acculturation as cultural contact and transculturation as enrichment and, in turn, loss of cultural identity.

See also Acculturation.