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The beginning of civilization brought about numerous social, economic as well as political changes; from a social point of view, these changes were in the change of lifestyle and cultural practices of the people. It is vital to note that one positive impact of civilization is that there was an increase in migration. In reference to migration as a change, it is important to note that there two main "migration patterns" that took place and this were both rural urban migration as well as the urban rural migration and it involved people of all ages, race, religion and occupation who settled in different regions where they were absorbed into new cultures and cultural practices. This is what is known as acculturation. This essay paper is going to discuss how a person or community can be absorbed into and integrated in a new environment and how he/she can adjust his behavior and the effects that the acculturation can have on an individual. In most cases however, it can be said that acculturation is where a group of a minor ethic group are "swallowed" by a large ethic group and in the end they (the minority) are forced to adhere by the practices of the larger ethnic group. There are however some places where a large ethnic group forcefully takes over the minority and forces them to adapt by their cultural and religion practice.
According to Hazuda & Haffner et al (1988), there are different areas that a person or community needs to adjust once they are acculturated. Religion is one area that is seriously taken under consideration during this process. For instance if the ethnic group that is being acculturated initially belonged to a different religion, it can either voluntarily take up the religion and religious practices of "their "masters" or it can resist but eventually it will be forced to sing the same tune as their masters. This type of acculturation is known as the religious syncretism. Good examples are the Indian of the Guatamala and Chiapas who were found in the Southern Mexico State. These ethnic groups were forcefully forced by the Spanish government to practice Christianity during the 16th Century. Apart from religion, health is another aspect that cannot be brushed aside. This is because the person or group to be acculturated must also adhere to the medical practices and feeding habits of the majority (Hazuda & Haffner et al 1988). For instance if the larger community does not believe in the modern day medicine and doctors but they rely on traditional medicine and herbalists, then those acculturated will be forced to do the same so as to read from the same medical script as the rest. This also applies to the types of foods that the community feeds on. It is however important to note that the foods available in the geographical location may be different from those that the acculturated community was used to and as result they are forced to adapt to the same because of lack of choice.
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Apart from religion and health related issues, the role and importance of communication in any setting cannot be overlooked, this is because for peaceful co existence of people in a community they must be able to communicate and clearly understand each other. Therefore if a certain community has been acculturated, the members of the community have no option but learn and understand the new language. It is by so doing that they will be able to interact well with their new masters. To add on that, there are traditional practices that most communities practice, it is required that the minority will get rid of the practices and learn new practices that they practices for years to come. To illustrate this further, during the African civilization and the colonization period, most African communities (the minority at the time) were forced to move to other areas due to hostility and other factors, as a result of this they were acculturated by other communities and ended up adapting to new lifestyles. It is therefore common to meet an African who claims to have originated from a certain area but his/her social lifestyle and practices are for people from another region.
Having looked at some of the changes that the acculturated community must be involved in, it is important for the paper to explain how people can adapt to these changes on an individual level. According to Sadashivan, the human behavior can be influenced by two main social behaviors; the positive and negative behaviors (Sadashivan, 2010). This means that the positive behaviors practiced by the people of the community will attract the person and make him/her want to learn more and behave like they do and in the end he/she becomes submissive and is fully absorbed in the community. In contrast to that, the negative practices and vices that the community observes will act as a repelling force and for a person being faced with an acculturation situation; they are most likely to be resistant to change. This resistance is one of the reasons that cause friction and conflicts among communities that share some similar practices and lifestyle since one community is not willing to take on a practice that it considers to be a taboo. After having looked at the different changes that acculturation can have on a community as well as the factors that can influence the behavior of a person, it is safe to conclude that acculturation is not an easy undertaking that any person or community can go through how if the process is well "mediated" then parties involved will find it easy to implement the various social, economic and political practices and in the end there will be peaceful co-existence and harmony between the communities.
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