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Enculturation: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Definition & Example…
  • 1:48 Examples of Enculturation
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Instructor: Yolanda Williams

Yolanda has taught college Psychology and Ethics, and has a doctorate of philosophy in counselor education and supervision.

Enculturation refers to the process by which we learn about our culture. Learn all about enculturation from different examples and then test your knowledge with a quiz in this lesson.

Definition and Example of Enculturation

Jill is a 16-year-old high school junior. She lives with her parents and two younger brothers in a small town in the Midwest. Jill's parents are both very religious. Her family attends church every Sunday, and Jill is a member of the youth choir. Jill's parents encourage all of their children to be kind, respectful, and to follow the rules.

Jill has had the same two best friends since she was in kindergarten. All of the girls wear their hair in similar styles and like to borrow each other's clothes. They also take shopping trips and family vacations together. Since her town only has one high school, Jill attends school with both of her best friends. Jill, like her two best friends, is doing very well at school and volunteers in her community. Jill's family and friends have no doubt that she will grow up to be a successful adult. Let's look at the ways in which Jill's family and friends have influenced her enculturation.

Enculturation refers to the process through which we learn about the culture we live in. Through enculturation, we learn what behaviors, values, language, and morals are acceptable in our society. We learn by observing other members of our society, including our parents, friends, teachers, and mentors. Enculturation provides a means for us to become functional members of our society.

Let's look at the example of Jill. She learned her values of being respectful, kind, and obedient from her parents and her church. She learned how to dress from her friends. She also learned appropriate behaviors from observing her family, friends, fellow church members, and other individuals in her society. Jill is also doing well in school, her home life, and socially, which demonstrates that Jill is a successful member of her society.

Examples of Enculturation

Enculturation can be formal or informal. An example of formal enculturation is when we are taught the amendments of the U.S. Constitution. Another is when we learn the local laws and ordinances in our state. An example of informal enculturation is when we watch our parents buy groceries in order to learn how to buy food.

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