Acculturation Reimagined: Setting the Stage for the Next Era of Inquiry

Acculturation Special Issue

Edited by Jonas R. Kunst (University of Oslo) & David L. Sam (University of Bergen)

(Go directly to abstract submission form)

Acculturation, the psychological and cultural changes that arise from intercultural contact, stands as a cornerstone of inquiry within the globalized and intricately connected fabric of our modern societies. This phenomenon, one of the most extensively studied in the social sciences, encapsulates the myriad ways in which individuals and communities relate to new cultural influences. Yet, despite its prominence in scholarly discourse, the field of acculturation research is not without its controversies and limitations.

Critiques have emerged over the predominant reliance on a few established theoretical frameworks, prompting a reevaluation of their sufficiency in capturing the complex dynamics of acculturation in rapidly changing times. Some of the key issues include:

  • Questions about the adequacy of existing models have led to calls for fresh perspectives and alternative methodologies. A notable point of contention is the “integration hypothesis,” a core tenet of Berry’s acculturation model, whose validity has been increasingly challenged. If the integration strategy itself does not result in improved psychological and sociocultural adaptation, it is essential to identify which alternative factors, including possible moderators, may be significant.
  • Integration is also suggested to be the most preferred acculturation strategy, and marginalization as the least preferred. However, there are variations in these preferences, but these are not fully explored. Additionally, there is no consensus on how to operationalize and assess acculturation orientations/strategies. The field is cluttered with several unvalidated scales, and their reliability is often questionable.
  • An arguably more fundamental constraint of current models lies in their predominant reliance on the bidimensional conception of acculturation, which confines the process to two primary dimensions: typically, the “heritage” culture and the “dominant” culture. Nevertheless, in an era characterized by hyperdiversity, individuals engage with a multitude of diverse cultural groups within and outside their countries of residence, rendering the bidimensional framework inadequate for encapsulating this intricate reality. Additionally, this model presupposes the existence of two discrete cultures, overlooking the fluidity of cultural identities and the often-ambiguous demarcation of cultural boundaries. Where does polyculturalism fit when defining cultural identity boundaries?
  • The processes involved in acculturation such as what causes the “change” are still not fully explained. Change is inherently temporal, yet acculturation is seldom examined with the longitudinal data necessary to trace its evolution.
  • Although scholars have theorized how individual and group-level acculturation processes aggregate to the societal level, these propositions are often insufficiently elaborated and seldom subjected to empirical validation. Consequently, most acculturation research provides momentary glimpses into the behaviors or preferences of specific cultural groups at particular points in time, with infrequent consideration of how these behaviors contribute to the overarching cultural shifts within diverse societies over extended periods. For example, the cultural evolutionary frameworks designed to map these dynamics are notably underexplored.
  • Most acculturation studies have historically focused on the experiences of minority groups and immigrants, often overlooking the reciprocal changes experienced by members of majority groups. This oversight is particularly glaring given the global nature of migration and intercultural contact. Questions pertaining to the acculturation of majority groups include discerning when their adoption of cultural elements from minority groups amounts to cultural appropriation as opposed to authentic cultural exchange. In this context, concepts such as polyculturalism and transculturalism hold considerable importance.
  • Multiculturalism has for long been proposed as the most advantageous societal ideology for fostering intercultural relations; however, not only have some politicians declared multiculturalism as a “failed” venture, but it has also faced criticism for promoting essentialist perceptions of culture among other issues. Recent advancements have introduced alternative ideologies, including interculturalism and polyculturalism, which may overcome this shortcoming. There is ongoing debate regarding the distinctiveness of these ideologies from multiculturalism, as well as the conditions and extent to which they may offer benefits.
  • Finally, the predominant Western lens through which acculturation has been viewed raises questions about the universality of existing theories and underscores the need for research that encompasses a broader spectrum of cultural contexts, experiences, and perspectives.

In light of these challenges, the forthcoming Special Issue on “Acculturation Reimagined: Setting the Stage for the Next Era of Inquiry,” edited by Jonas R. Kunst and David L. Sam, aspires to invigorate the field by charting new directions for future acculturation research. This issue seeks to transcend traditional boundaries, inviting both theoretical and empirical contributions that dare to challenge conventional wisdom. We encourage submissions that not only engage critically with existing paradigms but also propose innovative approaches, including those adopting non-Western perspectives, to rejuvenate our understanding of acculturation processes.

All submissions will undergo a rigorous and fair, transparent and double-blind peer-review process, where reviewers are compensated financially for their work. At, we are also committed to inclusivity and accessibility in academic publishing. Recognizing the financial constraints that may limit participation from scholars in economically disadvantaged regions, we offer resources to waive the Article Processing Charges (APC) for eligible papers. We encourage authors for whom this consideration is relevant to reach out to us before submitting the paper.


Interested authors are invited to submit a preliminary title, author list, and an abstract of up to 200 words via the form below. The deadline for abstract submission is May 31, 2024.

Selected authors will be invited to submit a full paper for consideration in, with the final deadline being November 30, 2024. It is important to note that authors have the option to submit the full version of their paper prior to this deadline. Accepted papers will be published online and open access on a rolling basis. We accept research articles (5,000 words, excluding references), research reports (2,000 words excluding references), review papers (10,000 words, excluding references), and methods papers (no length limit). The word limit may be extended upon request. You can find more information in the author guidelines.

We eagerly anticipate your innovative contributions to this special issue, as we collectively endeavor to redefine the contours of acculturation research for a new generation of inquiry.

Submission Instructions

To submit your abstract, please fill out the form below.

We look forward to your submissions and collaborating with you to publish groundbreaking perspectives in this field of broad importance. In case of questions, do not hesitate to contact us at

Abstract Submission