assimilation

/euh sim'euh lay"sheuhn/, n.
1. the act or process of assimilating; state or condition of being assimilated.
2. Physiol. the conversion of absorbed food into the substance of the body.
3. Bot. the total process of plant nutrition, including photosynthesis and the absorption of raw materials.
4. Sociol. the merging of cultural traits from previously distinct cultural groups, not involving biological amalgamation.
5. Phonet. the act or process by which a sound becomes identical with or similar to a neighboring sound in one or more defining characteristics, as place of articulation, voice or voicelessness, or manner of articulation, as in /gram"pah/ for grandpa. Cf. dissimilation (def. 2).
[1595-1605; < L assimilation- (s. of assimilatio). See ASSIMILATE, -ION]

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      in anthropology and sociology, the process whereby individuals or groups of differing ethnic heritage are absorbed into the dominant culture of a society. The process of assimilating involves taking on the traits of the dominant culture to such a degree that the assimilating group becomes socially indistinguishable from other members of the society. As such, assimilation is the most extreme form of acculturation. Although assimilation may be compelled through force or undertaken voluntarily, it is rare for a minority group to replace its previous cultural practices completely; religion, food preferences, proxemics (e.g., the physical distance between people in a given social situation), and aesthetics are among the characteristics that tend to be most resistant to change. Assimilation does not denote “racial” or biological fusion, though such fusion may occur.

 Attempts to compel minority groups to assimilate have occurred frequently in world history. The forced assimilation of indigenous peoples was particularly common in the European colonial (colonialism, Western) empires of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In North and South America, Australia, Africa, and Asia, colonial policies toward indigenous peoples frequently compelled their religious conversion, the removal of children from their families, the division of community property into salable, individually owned parcels of land, the undermining of local economies and gender roles by shifting responsibility for farming or other forms of production from women to men, and the elimination of access to indigenous foodstuffs. Forced assimilation is rarely successful, and it generally has enduring negative consequences for the recipient culture.

      Voluntary assimilation, albeit usually effected under pressure from the dominant culture, has also been prevalent in the historical record. One such case dates to the Spanish Inquisition of the late 14th and 15th centuries, when many Muslims and Jews responded to religious persecution by voluntarily converting to Roman Catholicism. Known as Moriscos (Morisco) and Marranos (Marrano), respectively, they secretly continued to practice their original religions.

      Another example of voluntary assimilation occurred during the 18th and 19th centuries, when millions of Europeans moved to the United States (Americanization). In this case, being able to “pass” as a member of the dominant Anglo-Protestant culture was an important hedge against violent nativist groups such as the Know-Nothing party (see United States: The people (United States)). Although popular notions generally presume that complete assimilation occurred among immigrants of European descent, research in the late 20th and early 21st centuries advocated a more nuanced and pluralistic (pluralism) view of historical culture change among American ethnic groups (ethnic group).

Elizabeth Prine Pauls
 

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Universalium. 2010.

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  • assimilation — [ asimilasjɔ̃ ] n. f. • 1503; assimulation 1374; lat. assimilatio, de assimilare → assimiler 1 ♦ Acte de l esprit qui considère (une chose) comme semblable (à une autre). ⇒ identification, rapprochement. L assimilation d une chose à une autre,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • ASSIMILATION — ASSIMILATION. In general the sociocultural process in which the sense and consciousness of association with one national and cultural group changes to identification with another such group, so that the merged individual or group may partially or …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Assimilation — (von lateinisch similis „ähnlich“) steht für: Assimilation (Biologie), die schrittweise erfolgende Stoffumwandlung körperfremder in körpereigene Stoffe, sowohl im Pflanzen als auch im Tierreich Assimilation (Lernpsychologie), die Integration… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Assimilation — (from Latin assimilatio ; to render similar ) may refer to more than one article: *Assimilation (linguistics), a linguistic process by which a sound becomes similar to an adjacent sound *Cultural assimilation, the process whereby a minority group …   Wikipedia

  • Assimilation — As*sim i*la tion, n. [L. assimilatio: cf. F. assimilation.] 1. The act or process of assimilating or bringing to a resemblance, likeness, or identity; also, the state of being so assimilated; as, the assimilation of one sound to another. [1913… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Assimilation — Assimilation, die Aufnahme und Verarbeitung der Nährstoffe durch die Pflanze, insbesondere Aufnahme des Kohlenstoffs aus der Kohlensäure der atmosphärischen Luft und Einführung desselben in den Stoffwechsel. Nach der Einrichtung ihrer… …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

  • Assimilation — Assimilation, d.i. Verähnlichung, heißt der physiologische Vorgang, durch welchen der aus der aufgenommenen Nahrung durch die Verdauung bereitete Milchsaft dem Blute allmählig ähnlicher gemacht und endlich ganz in solches umgewandelt wird. Auch… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • assimilation — [ə sim΄ə lā′shən] n. an assimilating or being assimilated; specif., a) the cultural absorption of a minority group into the main cultural body b) Linguis. a process in which a sound, influenced by a neighboring sound, tends to become like it in… …   English World dictionary

  • assimilation — assimilation. См. ассимиляция. (Источник: «Англо русский толковый словарь генетических терминов». Арефьев В.А., Лисовенко Л.А., Москва: Изд во ВНИРО, 1995 г.) …   Молекулярная биология и генетика. Толковый словарь.

  • Assimilation — (v. lat.), 1) Verähnlichung, Ähnlichmachung; 2) (Gramm.), in zusammengesetzten Wörtern die Verwandlung des Endconsonanten des ersten Wortes in den Anfangsconsonanten des zweiten, zur leichteren Aussprache, z.B. das Wort A. selbst für Adsimilation …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Assimilation — (lat., »Verähnlichung«), der Vorgang, durch den Bestandteile der Nahrung innerhalb der lebenden Wesen zu Bestandteilen von deren Körper werden. Hierhin ist bei den Tieren zu rechnen die Verwandlung der im Verdauungskanal aus den genossenen… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

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