Changing the acculturation conversation: Indigenous cultural reclamation in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand

Pat Dudgeon, Dawn Darlaston-Jones, Linda Waimarie Nikora, Waikaremoana Waitoki, Rogelia Pe-Pua, Le Nhat Tran, Lobna Rouhani

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookChapterpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction In constructing this chapter, the authors make a claim for an Indigenous perspective that is grounded in decolonization, the struggle for social justice, cultural reclamation and the development of Indigenous knowledge. This offers the opportunity to view acculturation and the associated research through a different lens. In taking this stance, a critical psychology and Indigenous standpoint approach is adopted, while also acknowledging earlier scholars (for example, Kvernmo, 2006, in the first edition of this Handbook) who have attempted to accommodate Indigenous experiences within acculturation theory and the associated research. The earlier chapter by Kvernmo provided a global perspective on Indigenous psychologies, whereas the current chapter focuses on findings and applications in Australia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Chapter 16, which covers acculturation research in Australia and New Zealand more broadly, is also relevant to our discussion. A key issue addressed is how acculturation research can be linked to cultural reclamation and reconciliation work. Critique of acculturation research Acculturation research, theory development and application have a long and complex history evolving within and between many different social science traditions. Over time, various terms have been used synonymously by disparate disciplines with divergent theoretical and methodological foundations leading to blurred and often conflicting findings (Ozer, 2013). There has also been a lack of critical reflexivity on the part of researchers to examine their ontological positions and clearly articulate the epistemological foundations of their own journeys and consequently their roles within the research endeavor (Ngo, 2008). Consequently, acculturation research occupies a complex and contested space that is further exacerbated when applied uncritically to Indigenous peoples in settler contexts. The original and most cited definition of acculturation emerged from anthropology and contends that “acculturation comprehends those phenomena which result when groups of individuals having different cultures come into continuous first-hand contact, with subsequent changes in the original culture patterns of either or both groups” (Redfield, Linton & Herskovits, 1936, p. 149). While Berry's acculturation framework evolved to incorporate the possibility of change in both groups, and emphasized the importance of including the change that occurs for both groups in contact (Berry, Poortinga, Breugelmans, Chasiotis & Sam, 2011), it has largely been applied to focus on the minority or nondominant groups to the exclusion of the dominant culture (Berry, 1997; Nikora, Levy, Masters & Waitoki, 2004; Sakamoto, 2007).

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Cambridge Handbook of Acculturation Psychology, Second Edition
EditorsDavid L. Sam, John W. Berry
Place of PublicationUnited Kingdom
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781316219218
ISBN (Print)9781107103993
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes


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