Psychology of acculturation: Berry vs. Boski
On the 27th of March there has been held a seminar "Psychology of acculturation: Berry vs. Boski". The presenter was Pawel Boski, professor, head of laboratory of cultural psychology and cross-cultural research, University of Social Sciences and Humanities, head of department of cross-cultural psychology, Polish Academy of Sciences (Poland).
P. Boski discussed psychology of acculturation and proposed his understanding of its main concepts. He suggests his own definition of acculturation which is conceived by him as a process whereby new skills, competencies, and ways of being (values) necessary to becoming a functional member of a receiving society are acquired by an incoming individual to the limit set involuntarily by his/her former programming within the culture of origin and voluntarily, in line with self- articulated preferences or other- imposed norms. Acculturation has a goal of becoming some sort of a bicultural person.
P. Boski criticize Berry's model of acculturation for capturing only attitudes of people but not the facts. He specifies that preferences do not literally translate into competences (e.g. it's better to measure people's language skills by making language test than by asking them). Generally most of the measurement based on Berry's approach can hardly be used to measure real differences between two cultures.
Boski suggested his model of acculturation that has three levels: symbolic culture, language, cultural practices and values. Two processes are postulated in this approach: (a) intentional learning, i.e. culturalization; and (b) incidental acquisition, i.e. socialization. P. Boski conducted several studies to measure differences between two cultures. His findings may be postulated like this - the closer countries’s values are the easier to acculturate in another culture. Culture identity is conceptualized as personal valuation of attributes ascribed to one’s culture (or two cultures, in case of a bicultural person). It is operationalized as a sum of products of all attributes characterizing one’s culture by their weights with regard to the second culture. Depending on these weights and personal preferences, culture identity may obtain a positive or a negative vector.