With communication and transportation more readily available than before, the interpenetration of cultural facets between groups have become easier if not more frequent. However, this flow of data cannot be solely attributed to the presence of devices that allow information dissemination; people take an active part whether consciously or not, in spreading and reforming cultures by their global movements and actions. This paper will look into this event, focusing on how adopting cultural features from other groups can resemble biological adaptation in that they both can lead to higher survival rates in a given environment.
Historical and relevant situations gathered from related literature will be used to develop and provide grounds for this statement. Jia, Lu and Heisey posit that “globalization is not only penetrating the economic sphere but also threatening the cultural boundaries of many nations… ” (Jia, Lu & Heisey, 2002, p. 155). A part of the globalization trend is the influx of different peoples to different countries. Due to exposure to new environments and possibly new cultural practices, the sense of stability of the migrating peoples is compromised.
According to Kim, in order to once more achieve internal equilibrium and reduce the stress the situation has affected upon them, “a person adapts by altering his or her internal conditions” (as cited in Liu, 2001, p. 14). During the nineteenth century, strong sentiments of Anglo-conformity pervaded the Americas as new immigrants came in droves. There was a strong notion that the formation of the American peoples and identity had ended and there was doubt whether the newcomers can be assimilated (Dicker, 2003, p.
44). The assumption that the immigrants had a strong desire for assimilation was not completely true. Though they did have a strong desire to acquire English and several traits of mainstream America, this is mostly to open paths to reach their goals and not for total incorporation (Dicker, p. 39). This partial cultural assimilation can be likened to temporary biological adaptations such as acclimatization; here the body’s biological functions work hard to tolerate the current environmental condition.
This process is not immediate, requiring time for the body to adjust itself to the climate; such as for a climber to survive high altitude conditions, it is recommended for them to climb slowly, resting a few times (Backer, et al. , 2005, p. 223). These adaptations may be partial and temporary but they allow people moving in that environment to function and achieve their goals. Environments, whether social or natural, hold a certain amount of resources and if these are limited the existing groups compete to gain access to these.
In the case of the Spanish settlers in the Americas, a tri-racial society- the Spaniards, the natives and those that were borne out of relations between the two- was created and “access to power and prestige depended on a person’s degree of acculturation” (Dicker, 2003, p. 48). According to Daniels: “An individual who spoke Spanish, wore European clothes, and ate European style food was considered, if not Spanish, not any longer Indian” (as cited in Dicker, p. 48).
People had to adhere to the standards that the Spanish had set in order to gain access to resources and survive, for those that are no longer Indian were set to help manage the state (Daniels as cited in Dicker, p. 48). Grasping the basic ideas of survival of the fittest, those that are able to adjust to some current norms of the society are able to survive, have access to resources and thus achieve more reproductive success than those ostracized, cut off and with limited offspring. Kim’s theory (as cited in Liu, 2001, p.
14) assumes that “stress and growth are inseparable and that both are necessary for successful adaptation”. A culture or a species must be able to grow and adapt to surrounding cultural facets to lessen the stress that is affecting them. According to Cohen (1974, p. 3) “A population’s adaptation is its relationship to its habitat”. The population adapts when it changes key factors in itself so that the environment can be a more fitting place for them to live, such as adapting the language of the place, the standards set by those that control the resources etc.
Adopting cultural features from other groups allow the people to be integrated, whether partially or completely, into that community and lessen the stress that limit them from surviving. Biological evolution is similar to this as success in here is measured by how a population manages to reproduce generations and provide for them. Backer, H. D. , Bowman, W. D. , Paton, B. C. , Steele, P. Thygerson, A. L. & Gulli, B. (2005). Wilderness first aid: emergency care for remote locations (2nd ed. ). Massachusetts, USA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Cohen, Y. A. (1974). Man in adaptation: the cultural present (2nd ed. ). Chicago, USA: Aldine Transaction. Dicker, S. J. (2003) Languages in America: a pluralist view (2nd ed. ). Clevedon, UK: Multilingual Matters. Jia, W. Lu, X. & Heisey, D. R. (2002). Chinese communication theory and research: reflections, new frontiers, and new directions. Connecticut. USA: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002 Liu, J. (2001). Asian students’ classroom communication patterns in U. S. universities: an emic perspective. Connecticut, USA: Greenwood Publishing Group.