Comparing cultures within-subjects: A cognitive account of acculturation as a framework for cross-cultural study

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Abstract

Cross-culturally comparable 'units of culture' may be found in the experience of immigrants for whom certain experiential domains of meaning from the 'first culture' are brought into comparison and contrast with corresponding domains in the 'second culture'. The notion of domains is here developed out of 'semantic domain' from cognitive anthropology, 'cognitive domain' from cognitive linguistics, and 'discourse domain' from second language acquisition. The clue to such domains is immigrants' coming to greater second language fluency in some areas of experience and less in other areas (communicative and cultural competence). These distinctions are used to develop a cognitive theory of acculturation that focuses research on cultures withinsubjects (within immigrants) in contrast to the traditional focus on comparison between cultural groups (between subjects). This article is speculative and derives from work in cognitive anthropology, ethnographic report, studies of second language acquisition, and psycholinguistic studies of bilingual memory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)98-115
Number of pages18
JournalAnthropological Theory
Volume2
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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