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|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|5024||2009||12 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Volume 33, Issue 2, March 2009, Pages 94–105
Author presents critical analyses of the philosophy and methodology of the current research in the psychology of acculturation. He defends three theses. First, that the dominant mode of research in the psychology of acculturation does not correspond to the essential qualities of the phenomenon under scrutiny—the acculturation process. Acculturation researchers have been trying to apply a positivistic and quantitative approach to a phenomenon that is far beyond the capacity this approach has to comprehend it. Second, that there is no culture in acculturation research and the researchers do not even have working models of culture that could guide research in this area. Third, that the complex nature of the acculturation process requires very diverse thinking about the subject, an application of various epistemological and methodological approaches, inter- and multi-disciplinarity, intellectual flexibility, and the willingness to critically analyse achieved results and obtained knowledge. Unfortunately, all these capacities and attributes are yet scarce in the discourse of the psychology of acculturation. The presentation of the arguments is structured in three sections. First, the author presents a philosophical framework suitable for analysing both the current and future models of acculturation research. Then, he reports the results of the analysis of 42 articles on acculturation which is followed by conclusions and implications derived from this analysis. In the third section, the author provides an example and formulates suggestions for future acculturation research.
The psychology of acculturation is an intensively expanding field of studies within cross-cultural psychology and the psychology of intercultural relations1. Current publications of the Handbook of Acculturation Psychology, several edited monographs and a growing number of empirical studies on acculturation strongly support this claim (Berry, Phinney, Sam, & Vedder, 2006; Bhatia, 2007; Booth, Crouter, & Landale, 1997; Bornstein & Cote, 2006; Castro, 2003; Chun, Organista, & Marin, 2002; Deaux, 2006; Kagitcibasi, 2007; Kim, 2001; Mahalingam, 2006; Portes & Rumbaut, 2001; Rudmin, 2003; Rumbaut & Portes, 2001; Sam & Berry, 2006; Suarez-Orozco & Suarez-Orozco, 2001; Suarez-Orozco & Todorova, 2003; Ward, 2001; Ward, Bocher, & Furnham, 2001). Research on acculturation has an important theoretical and practical significance for social sciences and social policy development. The acculturation process at the level of individuals constitutes a natural laboratory for studying the crucial questions of modern social cross-cultural and cultural psychology, cultural anthropology, and sociology: What role does culture play in people social functioning? Do cultural and social factors predetermine the actions of individuals or do people have their own ‘say’ in organizing their activities and, finally, in shaping and moulding their cultural and social environments? What are relations between culture and people's agency? These are fundamental questions of social theory and social philosophy. The process of acculturation, when people were initially socialized in one cultural environment and then moved and started functioning in another one, offers an opportunity to research these quintessential questions of the interaction of agentic individuals with constraining and controlling social and cultural demands. Consequently, acculturation research could contribute significantly to the development of comprehensive account of “social structure/culture versus agency” problem relevant to many social and human sciences. Research in the psychology of acculturation is very important for policy makers as well as for different organizations working with refugee and immigrant families in helping them adjust to a new life in the immigrant-accepting countries (Carmon, 1996; Esses, Dovidio, & Dion, 2002). Immigration and acculturation research was not a mainstream topic for cross-cultural psychology in the last century, but ignoring acculturation issues or addressing them superficially in the current age may have tremendous costs—political, economical and socio-psychological. Acculturation research should provide policy makers with a rich set of data about the mechanisms, dynamics, and conditions that either support or hinder the process of successful integration into a new life where acculturation plays a fundamental role. In order to be able to meet all these high expectations, to be at the edge of the modern theoretical debate in the social sciences and to inform applied and policy-making processes, acculturation psychologists, should be critical and reflective regarding what, how, and why they are doing every aspect of their research while conducting acculturation studies; they must be theoretically and philosophically knowledgeable and flexible enough to provide a deep and valid account of the issue under scrutiny. Thus, the goal of this article is to provide a critical analysis of the current trend in research of acculturation both on the conceptual and empirical levels and to provide a reflection of what our philosophical orientations, as well as epistemological and methodological positions, are and how adequate all of these positions are with regard to the nature of the phenomena we study. I want to emphasise strongly that I do not want to judge or criticize my fellow colleagues, as I am a part of the crowd; but I sincerely want to raise my voice of concern about the direction in which our science is moving and invite the research community to think through and discuss these concerns in a constructive and respectful manner. I want to raise and defend three theses in this article. First, that the dominant mode of research in the psychology of acculturation does not correspond to the essential qualities of the phenomenon we study – the acculturation process – and this misfit may lead us to a stagnation and even crisis in our discipline. Acculturation researchers have been trying to apply a deductive-nomological and quantitative approach to a phenomenon of acculturation that is far beyond the capacity this approach has to comprehend it. My second thesis is that there is no attention given to culture in acculturation research and acculturation researchers do not even have a working model of culture that could guide their research in this area. And the third thesis is that the complex nature of the acculturation process requires very diverse thinking about the subject, an application of various epistemological and methodological approaches, multidisciplinarity, intellectual flexibility, and the willingness to critically analyse achieved results and obtained knowledge. Unfortunately, all these capacities and attributes are yet scarce in the discourse of the psychology of acculturation. The presentation of my arguments is structured in three sections. First, I will reconstruct and present a philosophical framework suitable for analysing both the current and future models of acculturation research. Then I will report some statistics on the analysis of 42 articles on acculturation which will be followed by conclusions and implications derived from this analysis. In the third section I will try to articulate some requirements for a more comprehensive study of acculturation as I see it.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
1. My acquaintance with the literature on the psychology of acculturation allows me to generalize from my survey that most of the acculturation research is guided by the assumptions of the deductive-nomological model, treating the process of acculturation as a natural science phenomenon similar to the adaptation of a person to a new physical environment and looking for the general laws of this adaptation. The recent cross-cultural acculturation research of the adaptation of immigrant youth in 13 countries (Berry et al., 2006) is another evidence of the dominance of this paradigm. In combining together Jews from the former Soviet Union acculturating in Israel with the refugees from Vietnam arriving in Finland or Norway and with Turkish construction workers residing in Germany, the authors of these studies tried to eliminate all the unique and specific cultural and ethnic aspects of each group of immigrants (and each host nation) in order to discover the general laws of acculturation and predict, based on these laws, the success of acculturation2. But we should ask ourselves: Could these laws of acculturation ever exist? If the answer is “Yes”, then, is the primary goal of acculturation psychologists to search for these laws? If “No”, then what is the goal of acculturation studies should be? I believe that the researchers should look for the regularities in the acculturation process but this should be a secondary goal which follows a thorough description of these processes in various contexts and environments. These regularities could be discovered through a thorough application of multiple methodologies and mixed-method research. 2. The majority of the studies are confirmatory by nature and are built around testing hypotheses and justifying empirical generalizations discovered in previous research, whereas, there is little research that is exploratory or descriptive in nature. This conclusion means several things. First, it demonstrates that the psychology of acculturation is prematurely striving to be an advanced and mature science by rushing to develop models and theories, which often sound pretty superficial, and then design studies to verify these models. By ignoring/omitting/skipping the descriptive phase of scientific research, it seems like acculturation researchers are trying to convince themselves that they are developing a ‘real’, ‘hardcore’ science, thus creating for themselves and for future generations of acculturation researchers an illusion that this field of research is mature enough to implement the confirmatory mode of research using hypothetico-deductive approach accompanied by rigorous statistical analysis. My conclusion invites psychologists of acculturation to concentrate on conducting descriptive studies of the dynamics of acculturation of different group of immigrants by doing ethnography, observing them, and openly talking to immigrants about their experiences in different countries and in different settings. Only after accumulating rich and diverse evidence of how acculturation occurs and is experienced by immigrants, researchers may start extracting generalizations which may shed light on the interactions between cultures and people moving across cultures. With some limitations, these universal regularities could later be generalized across countries and societies, although these generalizations would require rigorous theoretical analysis and justification. The second meaning of my above-presented conclusion is that the majority of acculturation researchers are not open to exploring and discovering new facts and regularities but are instead stuck in the safe haven of confirming the existing empirical regularities. And in doing this they often blindly follow the conceptualizations and operationalization that exist in the literature without questioning their adequacy and validity. For example, in many studies researchers used the results of the standardized questionnaires surveys to confirm the bi-dimensional model of acculturation and very often draw the conclusion that integration is the most beneficial acculturation orientation for adaptation. But let us ask ourselves: how deeply does this conclusion allow us to understand the mechanism of acculturation and how practically useful is this conclusion? What we will do with our conclusion if it turns out that this model has serious conceptual and operationalizational flaws (Rudmin, 2003) and is oversimplistic to explain such rich phenomena as psychology of acculturation? Let me suggest to take a step back in our research and ask questions about what integration means for different groups of immigrants in different societies (Boski, 2008), how they experience it and how integration unfolds in various specific contexts. And after a rigorous description of integration together with assimilation, separation, marginalization and other ‘acculturation strategies’, we may return to the bi-dimensional model with a clearer understanding of what does these strategies mean and how they are used by different groups of immigrants in various settings. 3. There is no ‘culture’ in acculturation research. There is no analysis of shared norms, rules and meanings of the home and host cultures. There is no cultural analysis of home and host cultures of immigrants. The interpretative mode in the studying of the acculturation process is almost non-existent. The majority of the analyzed studies are simply studies of the psychological aspects of immigration and of the adaptation of migrants but not the study of acCULTURATION. Some of the similar difficulties in studying acculturation were addressed in the recent Handbook of Acculturation psychology (Sam & Berry, 2006). As the term acculturation implies, one of the main components of acculturation research should be the cultural analysis of home and host societies regarding various domains of immigrants’ lives: parenting, family roles and responsibilities, work and work ethic, relationships with authority, and others depending on the research focus. To do this analysis, researchers could widely use the existing anthropological and ethnographic literature, results of sociological and census surveys, autobiographies, diaries, and letters of immigrants and any other available sources of information about the cultures being examined and people's experiences within them. After conducting this rigorous cultural analysis of two societies, the researchers could turn their attention toward studying how immigrants navigate between these two (and sometimes three or more) cultural realities, how they construct their own meaningful realities. 4. Research in acculturation psychology is rarely informed by historical, economical, sociological, political, and anthropological data from other social disciplines, making their findings very isolated from other social sciences. 5. Methodologically, we are very narrow minded, thinking only in terms of correlations, predictions through a regression analysis and other multivariate statistical techniques. We are abandoning ethnography, participatory observations, qualitative interviewing and many other methods of data collection that seem to be crucial for understanding the experience of immigrants. 6. Acculturation researchers try to study a process stretched in time by applying a predominantly one-time cross-sectional design. And we expect that from these studies we can extract knowledge that could be useful for other scientists, policy makers, and immigrant assisting organizations? Let's think about this. 7. Acculturation studies in the existing form has minimal pragmatic usefulness as it is practically impossible to apply the discovered regularities to specific communities. The consumers of our knowledge usually say that our results ‘Not at all practical and useful’ as several worker of immigrant-assisting organization told me in personal conversations about the mainstream research on acculturation. 8. And finally, what surprised me the most is not the fact that we, acculturation researchers, are so positivistically and statistically oriented regarding the phenomenon that by its nature requires a different paradigm, but that we think and reflect very little about what process do we study: What is the nature of it? Under what conditions should we apply our positivistic methodology? What are its limitations? What kind of knowledge do we try to discover and how useful is it? I may call this a collective paradigmatical narrow-mindedness, which leads to the limited conceptual and methodological bases of our studies and to the lack of reflections about this enterprise. This critical analysis does not mean that the logical empiricist paradigm should be completely excluded from acculturation research. My main point is that the research approach should follow the nature of the phenomenon we investigate, and that in the case of such a complex socio-cultural process as acculturation, our predominant orientation should be open-mindedness to various epistemological and methodological positions together with an openness to the contributions of other related sciences. We should strive for epistemological and methodological pluralism in acculturation research.