Difference Between Enculturation and Acculturation (With Table)

This is a phrase that is frequently heard in sociology to explain the processes of enculturation and acculturation. More specifically, these two concepts are associated with the cultural portion of sociology, which is concerned with studying the varied values, beliefs, languages, and behaviours within a culture.

Enculturation vs Acculturation

The main difference between enculturation and acculturation is that the former involves individuals attempting to learn about their culture via self-exploration and acquisition. In contrast, the latter requires intermingling traditions from two distinct cultures.

Enculturation is a term used to describe the process of learning about one’s own culture with the help of one’s family. This is where the individual can learn about their culture’s practices and its various other aspects.

The process of combining elements of two different cultures, known as acculturation. A cultural exchange occurs when an individual learns and adapts to the practices of a culture with which they are not familiar.

Comparison Table Between Enculturation and Acculturation

Parameters of ComparisonEnculturationAcculturation
DefinitionA person’s initiative in discovering and internalizing their own culture’s norms, values, beliefs, and language usage.Attempts to learn the new culture or where a cultural exchange occurs.  
Cultural familiarisationThe first step in becoming culturally literate is to become enculturated, which means learning about and adapting to one’s own culture.  There are two or three stages of cultural familiarisation: acculturation and cultural immersion.  
EssentialA person’s ability to function in a community is greatly enhanced if they thoroughly understand their own culture.  Learning about a new culture is useful, but it isn’t necessary to survive.  
RegionsEnculturation is how a person becomes more culturally integrated into their home region or country of origin.  The act of leaving one’s home and settling in a new location is known as transmigration.  
InfluenceThe enculturation process is void of any input from any other culture.In this case, the dominant culture is the one that has the most impact on the individual.  

What is Enculturation?

To fully integrate into one’s own culture, one must engage in enculturation activities. The name enculturation best defines this type of practice. The individual in this situation is solely reliant on their acquisition and does not rely on any outside sources.

This is the first step in cultural familiarisation and must be completed before attempting any additional cultural immersion. Enculturation is how a person learns to integrate their outer surroundings into their interior environment and make it a part of their interior environment. The individual becomes acclimated to their surroundings and becomes familiar with the customs and laws of the land.

Because enculturation is a natural process, it usually occurs when someone is born and brought up in a different location from their home country. Furthermore, when discussing enculturation, it is important to note that it is a method of becoming a part of the society in which you are immersed, which is why it is critical to an individual’s survival.

By learning how to behave and by being familiar with the qualities of others in society, the individual can live and thrive among them. There is one important point to keep in mind about enculturation: it does not interfere with the culture being examined in any way by other cultures, and just the individual’s viewpoint is being scrutinized under the microscope.

What is Acculturation?

It is the process of either adapting to a new and alien culture or fusing the principles of one known culture with those of another unknown culture, which is referred to as “acculturation.” Culture intermixing is a term that is widely used to describe this process.

Acculturation is typically considered a second phase in becoming acquainted with a new culture, as it is the process of figuring out and adjusting to a new environment. A person is normally familiar with their own culture before embarking on a journey to learn about other cultures.

When a person moves to a new place where the customs followed, and the languages are spoken are completely different from their home country, they are said to be through the process of acculturation. Even though it is not necessary for survival, it can be helpful when an individual intends to settle permanently in a new country and wishes to fit in.

In addition, one important element to keep in mind is that when we talk of acculturation, we are talking about cultural collisions between two different cultures, and an individual is permitted to blend the diverse practices of the two cultures. Nonetheless, in the end, the more prevalent culture is the one that the individual will abide by and obey.

Main Differences Between Enculturation and Acculturation

  1. Enculturation is how a person acquires knowledge of their own culture. Acculturation is the act of trying to learn a new culture and its traditions or integrating two different cultures.
  2. Acculturation is the second step following enculturation in becoming culturally literate.
  3. Acculturation is good but not required for survival, but enculturation is crucial and necessary for survival in the modern world.
  4. Acculturation occurs when a person moves to a new country after growing up in their region or country of birth.
  5. There is no other culture involved in the enculturation process, whereas the dominant culture of the two has the most effect on an individual during acculturation.


Both enculturation and acculturation have been used to describe how individuals might learn about a new culture by immersing themselves in its rich history, traditions, and even its own beliefs. Enculturation enables an individual to take issues into their own hands and understand all about their own culture. A trip to a foreign country provides an opportunity to learn about the culture and establish one’s own beliefs.

Acculturation is how a person learns to blend two or more different cultures. As a general rule, one must undergo this procedure if they intend to integrate into the culture of a new country. People benefit from both cultural activities in terms of their sociological understanding and long-term well-being.


  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0147176708001004
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Saul-G-Alamilla/publication/331233432_Acculturation_and_Enculturation_A_Review_of_Theory_and_Research/links/5c6d8a98a6fdcc404ec17b91/Acculturation-and-Enculturation-A-Review-of-Theory-and-Research.pdf