Assimilation is a term used to refer to different cultural groups moving into a new place or region for settlement. Immediately they settle on their new land, these ethnic groups normally acquire the customs and cultures of those they found in the region through communication.
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They also normally contribute their own culture to the new society they have inhabited. Assimilation is, however, a gradual process which occurs in different levels: a person becomes fully assimilated when they cannot be differentiated from the original members of the new society. Full assimilation does not occur to the first generation, instead, it occurs to the second generation. There are three types of assimilation, which include cultural assimilation, social assimilation, and identity assimilation.
On the other hand, ethnic pluralism/multiculturalism is a term used to describe those people who have moved into new society but are not culturally assimilated; they normally retain their cultural differences. This is the main difference that exists between assimilation and ethnic pluralism.
Nevertheless, there is a similarity between the two since full assimilation normally occur to the second generation. This, therefore, means that the first generation in the process of assimilation usually retains their cultural differences just like ethnic pluralism/multiculturalism.
The first generation in the process of cultural assimilation is normally good at their native language as compared to the foreign language as they cannot speak fluent English. This is another similarity that exists between assimilation and ethnic pluralism. America is an example of a society with ethnic pluralism; it has multitude of different cultures and ethnic groups. There are two types of ethnic pluralism/multicultural societies, which include dominant majority culture and different persisting ethnic/immigrant cultures.
Lastly, transnationalism is any social process that occurs across different national boundaries. This, therefore, means that transnationalism refers to a social phenomenon which involves interconnectivity among the persons and the receding social and economic importance between different states. Transnational migrants are constantly on the move across national borders; they normally do not stay in one country like those who have been assimilated or in the case of ethnic pluralism.
This is the main difference that exists between transnationalism, assimilation, and ethnic pluralism. The process of assimilation and multiculturalism/ethnic pluralism involves people moving or migrating to new society, settling there for a long term or permanently and then later on eventually becoming socially and culturally assimilated. However, in transnationalism, individuals move from one nation to another for economic and social purposes.
Nevertheless, the main similarity between assimilation, ethnic pluralism and transnationalism is that they all involve movement from one location to another. Unlike the case of assimilation and ethnic pluralism, in transnationalism, migrants maintain social ties and connections with their home country.
The migrants usually send and receive things from their native countries. This process is similar to ethnic pluralism whereby individuals maintains contact with their native homes. They can receive and, at the same time, send things to their native country, especially to their loved ones and family. This, however, does not occur in assimilation process. There are two types of transnationalism which include economic transnationalism and political transnationalism.
In economic transnationalism, individuals do not only have an impact on their host country economically but also maintain economic ties with their home/native nations. This is whereby individuals send money home to support their family and also maintain business ties with their home country through imports and exports to immigrant communities. The best way for immigrants to adapt to host society is through transnationalism.