Cultures involve more than just identifying specific groups of people. They actually involve deeply rooted psychological elements which tend to govern the behaviour of the members. The folkways of a family, such as traditions, foods, music, stories, etc., can be an asset when assimilating into another culture that is very similar to their own; however, it can also be a hinderance in adapting to a new environment that is glaringly different.
Exploring some of the more subtle aspects of Cultural Assimilation reveals how they impacted not only the interactions of our ancestors in their new environments, but how they may have been aided, or hampered, by the folkways of their cultural group. As you research this aspect, you will need to investigate whether our ancestors fit in easily, or if they struggled to relate. This could be especially revealing when you study the challenges they may have faced in their places of employment. Every day would have exposed new situations with so many norms for them to learn that were not “normal” to them at all. In some cultures, adapting would naturally have been easy; however, other cultural differences would emerge in stark contrast to the expected social interactions, creating uncomfortable or embarrassing situations.
By breaking down these elements and analyzing cultural identities, you can begin to piece together a picture of what our ancestors faced in their acculturation process. This could very well reveal the origins of family traits that seemed out of character, but seem to persist in the following generations.
In Demystifying Culture and Folklore, you will get a glimpse into some of the social aspects of your ancestors’ lives as they attempted to embrace a new culture, or how they struggled with conforming to a society that may not have resembled their expectations at all. Understanding these pieces of the puzzle may well explain feelings of acceptance or rejection experienced by family members.
Blog posts in this series:
Part 1: Demystifying Culture and Folklore: Intro
Part 2: Our Primary Cultures
Part 3: Our Immigrant Ancestors’ Culture
Part 4: Cultural Assimilation