Throughout the process of growing up, we learn from our parents and loved ones that surround us, but we also start implementing cultural norms that we are exposed to. The process of enculturation is something that we all go through, and it is safe to say that it exists throughout our entire life.
The short definition of enculturation would be adapting to our surroundings and behaving under the norms posed by our culture. However, it goes much further than just adopting specific behavioral patterns and blending in.
What Is Enculturation?
The main reason why you can notice a difference between someone who is from the US and those who are from other countries is because of enculturation. The most important characteristic of this process is that it doesn’t require a lot of reasoning. Thus, apart from direct learning, we implement norms and act just like our elders did simply because we saw them do it.
What lies behind this is respect for elders that has been strongly integrated into all cultures. As we grow up, the enculturation process is mostly transferred to educational institutions where we learn about our language, tradition, food, and all other aspects that define a culture.
While we may not realize the importance of these subjects at the time, enculturation is a process that has a significant impact on how we act both through childhood and adulthood.
Examples Of Enculturation
At an early age, enculturation is mostly presented to us by our parents. We are taught the importance of being honest and doing right. Additionally, we learn things like table manners and always showing respect towards the elderly no matter how they act in front of us.
This later transfers to high school and college, as you are directed to respect your professor and collaborate with other students in your class.
Enculturation In Social Sciences
As a high school or a college student, you are sure to have questions about the reason behind what you see or hear. The practical implementation of enculturation is mostly noticeable in the process of socialization. Meeting individuals from a different culture is a superb opportunity to understand how they differ from you. It helps you understand the importance of a multicultural society.
It also has a significant effect on anthropology, as we are taught about what is morally right or wrong and the appropriate reactions in certain social situations.
Enculturation is an inevitable process that we all go through in our lifetime. Without it, 7 billion people would be eating the same food, communicating with the same language, and obeying identical social norms. Keep in mind that enculturation doesn’t end at a certain age; it is present in all life stages.