Integration vs. Assimilation Response

Requesting 200 words response to the following post using at least three substantive peer reviewed scholarly journal articles to provide those substantive replies.


Integration vs. Assimilation

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Key Term and Why You Are Interested in It

The term integration vs. assimilation was chosen for discussion due to my academic curiosity around the concept. Integration and assimilation are two terms that people often confuse as being the same, but in reality, there are major differences between both. The topic of globalization is a key component in international business, and it is interesting to see how different cultures blend and adapt. Satterlee (2018) states that “integration of cultures is more desirable than assimilation”, but I am curious to research instances and examples where assimilation could be the better option. The word assimilation carries a negative connotation to me, as it seems as though the original culture is completely eliminated.

Explanation of the Key Term

To fully understand the concept of integration vs. assimilation, the definition and meaning of both terms must be compared in order to understand the similarities and differences. The term integration refers to the blending of cultures where some elements of the minority culture remain. Assimilation is defined as “the progression where a minority culture eventually assumes and resembles characteristics of the prevailing culture” (Satterlee, 2018). The main difference is that integration allows for the merging of both the old culture with the new, while assimilation is the absorption of the new culture and leaving the native culture behind. Assimilation and integration are used synonymously is some instances as studies have shown that the terms have different variants.

Major Article Summary

 Vermeulen (2010) discusses the application of integration vs. assimilation within immigrants and their children. The study focuses on how the concept of blending cultures is not a straight-forward approach, but rather a long-term commitment. In the United States, it is noted that the assimilation of old cultures to the American culture is preferred, while in Europe, the integration of cultures is favored. Integration and assimilation are broken down into three main categories: segmented assimilation, downward assimilation, and pluralistic integration.

 The theory of segmented assimilation is defined as the adoption of the middle-class lifestyle. For immigrants, segmented assimilation typically applies to those individuals who come to America or Europe with a more than average amount of capital (Vermeulen, 2010). Immigrants are able to support their children as they all go through the process of assimilation together, furthering the opportunity for advancement within society. The theory of downward assimilation is described as the process where immigrants assimilate to the lifestyle of the lower class. Immigrants arrive with little or no capital, resulting in individuals and families finding refuge in areas of poverty. Immigrants in this category have less opportunity for advancement. Pluralistic integration is the last variant and refers to the preservation of ethnic and cultural aspects while merging specific elements like education and entrepreneurship in order to advance. In this case, immigrant parents are in control and maintain parts of the native culture while the children learn the new culture as well. As a result, ethnic communities are established.

            In conclusion, assimilation is not always the best option even though it is preferred in certain societies. Depending on the pre-migration status of the immigrant, assimilation can be beneficial to economic success or lead to a future of poverty. Out of all three variants, integration is more favorable but may not be an applicable approach in all countries.


 The major article relates to the explanation of the term integration vs assimilation by defining and comparing the meaning of both words. Vermeulen (2010) uses the terms interchangeably and provides an in-depth description of the concept’s variants. The original meaning of assimilation is a way of the past and not commonly applied in today’s time. Many researchers support the theory of segmented assimilation and cultural integration. From the article, we see that both segmented and downward assimilation refers to a minority culture adopting the culture of the new society. This adoption of culture can be positive or negative depending on the subculture being embraced. The explanation of integration is supported by the article as well as it refers to the integration of the immigrant culture with the new way of life. Immigrants can retain the positive aspects of their cultural identity while integrating the positive aspects of the new culture for economic success.

            The additional cited works relates to the major article by supporting the research around integration vs. assimilation and highlighting the challenges and benefits of both. Cheng et al. (2006) studies the impact of cultural on bicultural individuals. Very similar to the theory of pluralistic integration, bicultural individuals maintain the positive elements of their cultural identity while assuming positive elements from the new culture. In a study of super diversity vs. assimilation, Crul (2016) discusses the ethnic diversities found in major cities due to immigrant migration where the minority is now the majority. Super diversity also relates to the concept of pluralistic integration, as children of immigrants do not assimilate into just one class of society, but a mixture of demographics (ethnicity, age, gender, education) as a result of diversity. Authors Schneider & Crul (2010) look at the integration and assimilation tendencies of second-generation individuals and how the terms are similar from a cultural standpoint. The article addresses the segmented assimilation theory and how a new assimilation approach may be needed to account for the high level of diversity in major areas. Stepick & Stepick (2010) also discuss segmented assimilation with a focus on immigrant children who have migrated to the United States. National origin and pre-migration status is a major contributor to positive and upward segmented assimilation.

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