How 'mutual' is acculturation?: Majority Australians' acculturation attitudes toward refugees

Document Type

Journal Article


The Australian Psychological Society Limited

Place of Publication

Australian Community Psychologist


Faculty of Education and Arts


School of Arts and Humanities




Originally published as: Rauchelle, K., & Dandy, J. (2015). How 'mutual' is acculturation?: Majority Australians' acculturation attitudes toward refugees. Australian Community Psychologist, 27(2), 5-18. Original article available here.


Acculturation is defined as a mutual and dynamic process of cultural change that occurs when two or more cultures come into contact. However, research interest in the attitudes of the majority or ‘host’ community is relatively recent and remains scarce. In this study we explored majority Australians’ views on acculturation in respect to refugees, including own-group acculturation: the extent to which they desire cultural maintenance and/or change in response to the growing ethnic diversity of Australian society. These views were explored through in-depth interviews with a sample of 14 participants who identified as Anglo-Australian. Thematic analysis of the data revealed eight themes relating to two research questions: how participants view their own acculturation, and how they view refugee acculturation. In general, participant s viewed their preferred acculturative change as minimal, but expected refugees to change in significant ways. The findings are discussed in the context of contemporary models of ‘mutual’ acculturation.

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