Publication Date

2006

Abstract

This research project with the title of Consumer Acculturation: Immigrants in the U.S. and 'American' Food, is a study of the level and nature of the effects brought by the general acculturation process that immigrants to the U.S. experience upon resettlement in this country. Further emphasis is placed on the important role of consumer acculturation, defined as the process of adapting one's consumption habits to better match the new surroundings. The diets of immigrants, both before and after arrival in the U.S. are examined in order to identify and understand any transitions that have taken place, and to investigate which possible factors directly led to these adaptations. The theories of assimilation and acculturation are applied to better understand the phases of any dietary changes that might take place. The hope in choosing to conduct this study was that I might further understand the challenges that immigrants go through in becoming part of the American population, and be able to share this information with others. In order to do this I chose an ethnographic research methodology. I reviewed relevant professional literature that covered this topic and designed a 24-question survey to gain insight into U.S. immigrant's personal dietary experiences. The results of this have proved the importance of this issue. I included literature that suggested acculturation to the "American" food habits could have various effects on the health and quality of life of new citizens. My research supported this, finding that changes in diet can have both negative and positive effects. The diverse backgrounds of those new to the U.S. are directly reflected in the diversity of their experiences following relocation. The distinct importance of this study includes its role in furthering intercultural understanding. Continued research will be crucial in keeping the flow of understanding in motion.

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