TRANSCULTURATION: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN BREACH MANAGEMENT AND FAMILY PARADIGM IN EXPERIENCING A NOVEL CULTURE
From an interpretive standpoint, traditional assimilation/acculturation research is criticized for its linearity assumption and imposition of researcher-defined, ocular categories upon subjective experiences of social actors. In its place, the "transculturation" perspective is offered. Consistent with the interpretive understanding of the reflexive process between higher level meanings and concrete level social actions, transculturation is defined as "the process in which an individual accommodates novel experiences with his/her existing interpretive scheme with resulting changes in the interpretive scheme itself."
To empirically observe that process, interpretive scheme was conceptually reduced to "family paradigm" (or a "shared" environmental orientation among family members), and accommodation acts to "breach management acts" (required of an immigrant following the breach of a host cultural norm). Previous research on family culture and individual performance outside of family provided initial hypotheses in the relationship between family paradigm and breach management acts of transculturating individuals.
A group of Korean college students (and their parents) in the United States was investigated using questionnaires which placed them in hypothetical but likely interaction situations with an American. Each subject described his/her remedial action following a breach described in the situations in terms of various "logical forces" (as conceptualized in the theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning), which were then related to various dimensions of his/her orientation toward the American society.
Data analysis using nonparametric statistics resulted in refuting the very concept of a family paradigm, i.e. the assumption of "sharedness" was not met for the families investigated, although post hoc analysis revealed linkages between clusters of diverse dimensions of individual subjects' orientation toward the host society and the structure of their breach management acts. Tentative explanations of the linkages are provided, with the caution that the findings may be specific to the group studied, although the analytical framework itself was designed to be non-specific as to subjects.