Assimilation: Definition, Factors, and Types

Humans are social beings who need interaction with other humans. Humans as social beings means that they need to live in society. One of the keys to successful social life is the ability to socialize.

Social skills are included in the interactions studied in sociology, namely the science that studies living together in society and investigates the bonds between humans. Sociology studies various human interactions, one of which is assimilation.

With this interaction between humans, the relationship between individuals with one another is getting tighter. In addition, assimilation can also create a new culture that keeps up with the times.

Then, actually, what is meant by assimilation? For more details, you can see this article till the end, Sinaumed’s




Definition of Assimilation

Assimilation itself is the assimilation of a culture accompanied by the loss of the characteristics of the original culture, thus forming a new culture. Assimilation itself arises when there are groups of people with different cultural backgrounds and interact directly intensively for a long time.

An assimilation is characterized by efforts to reduce differences between people or groups. To reduce these differences, assimilation includes efforts to strengthen the unity of actions, attitudes and feelings by paying attention to common interests and goals.

Assimilation is a combination of groups or individuals who have different cultures. Assimilation will occur when groups or individuals interact on the basis of openness and have a tolerant attitude.

In the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), assimilation is adjustment (fusion) of one’s original characteristics with the characteristics of the surrounding environment.

Assimilation can also be interpreted as an assimilation of two cultures accompanied by the loss of the characteristics of the original culture, thus forming a new culture.

An assimilation is characterized by efforts to reduce differences between people or groups. To reduce these differences, assimilation includes efforts to strengthen the unity of actions, attitudes and feelings by paying attention to common needs and goals.

The result of the assimilation process is the thinner the boundaries between individuals in a group, or it could be the boundaries between groups. In addition, individuals identify themselves with common interests. In other words, adjusting his will to the will of the group. Likewise between one group and another group.

A pluralistic society is a society that is primarily the goal of assimilation. Different life backgrounds make the assimilation process reach different stages in different societies.

This difference makes assimilation cannot be carried out thoroughly in all aspects of the prevailing culture. Imperfect assimilation occurs because people who have culture and identity always try to maintain their existence.

Assimilation can be formed if there are three requirements, among others:

  1. There are a number of groups that have different cultures
  2. Social interaction between individuals or groups occurs intensively and in a relatively long time
  3. The culture of each of these groups changes and adapts to each other


Definition of Assimilation According to Experts

Some experts also express the notion of assimilation. The following is the definition of assimilation according to some experts, among others:

  • Budhi Setianto Purwowiyoto (2020)

Assimilation is a person’s cognitive process of integrating new perceptions, concepts and experiences into schemes or patterns that already exist in his mind.

  • Koentjaraningrat (1996)

Assimilation is a social process that occurs in various groups of people with different cultural backgrounds after they interact intensively, so that the characteristics of cultural elements. Each of these groups turned into mixed cultural elements.

  • Soerjono Soekanto (1990)

Assimilation is a social process characterized by efforts to reduce the differences that exist between individuals or groups which include efforts to enhance the unity of actions, attitudes, and mental processes by paying attention to common goals and interests.

Assimilation Factors

The following are some of the factors for assimilation that you need to know

Driving Factors

Common factors that encourage or facilitate assimilation include tolerance, similarity, economic interests, sympathy for other cultures and amalgamation.

Tolerance that results in assimilation can occur if the minority group is able to lose its identity, while the majority group is able to accept the minority group as a new part of its group.

Factors driving assimilation, among others:

  • Tolerance attitude.
  • Balanced opportunities in the economy (every individual has the same opportunity to reach a certain position on the basis of his abilities and services).
  • The attitude of respect for foreigners and their culture. The open attitude of the ruling class in society.
  • Similarities in cultural elements.
  • Mixed marriage (amalgamation).
  • There is a common enemy from outside.
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Barrier Factors

Common factors that can be a barrier to assimilation include:

  • Isolated or alienated groups (usually minority groups).
  • The feeling that the culture of certain groups is higher than the culture of other groups.
  • Lack of knowledge about the culture with which the stone is encountered
  • Negative prejudice against the influence of the new culture.
  • This concern can be overcome by increasing the function of social institutions.
  • This excessive pride causes one group not to acknowledge the existence of another group’s culture
  • Differences in physical characteristics, such as height, skin color or hair
  • A strong feeling that the individual is tied to the culture of the group concerned.
  • Minority groups experience interference from the ruling group.
  • The isolation of the life of a certain group in society. For example, Native Americans who live in certain areas (reservations).
  • Lack of knowledge about the culture encountered.
  • There is a feeling of fear of the power of a culture that is faced.
  • There is a feeling that the culture of a certain class or group is higher than the culture of another class or group.
  • There are differences in skin color or physical characteristics.
  • There is a strong ingroup feeling. That is, there is a strong feeling that the individual is tied to the group and the culture of the group concerned.
  • There is interference from the minority group against the ruling class. For example, the harsh treatment of Japanese people living in the United States after the American Naval base at Pearl Harbor was suddenly attacked by Japanese troops in 1941.
  • There are differences of interest and personal conflict.

The characteristics and conditions for the occurrence of assimilation

To understand assimilation, it is also necessary to know the characteristics of assimilation. The following are characteristics of assimilation.

  1. Reduced differences are due to efforts to reduce and eliminate differences between individuals or groups.
  2. The reduction of differences in society is due to various efforts to reduce or even eliminate differences between individuals and groups.
  3. Strengthen the unity of actions, attitudes, and feelings and pay attention to common interests and goals.
  4. The closer the unity of actions, attitudes, and feelings, and more concerned with common interests and goals.
  5. There is awareness of each individual to provide a review of other cultures in order to realize common interests.
  6. Each individual as a group interacts directly and continuously intensively.
  7. The act of a person in providing a review of other cultures for the sake of the realization of the public interest. That is, in the review that was carried out it was considered that it would be able to accommodate shared desires in social life.

Types of Assimilation

In the Komunika Journal Vol.10, No. 2, 2007 , there are several types of assimilation according to the publication of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), which are as follows:

1. Cultural Assimilation

Cultural assimilation is the process of adopting values, beliefs, dogmas, ideologies, languages, and symbol systems from an ethnic group or from various groups that form a content of values, beliefs, dogmas, and ideologies.

Cultural assimilation is a combination of different cultures and produces a new culture along with the loss of the original cultural characteristics. The process of cultural assimilation or absorption of culture from outside occurs, so that it integrates into the structure of a society that accepts culture.

An example of cultural assimilation is the transmigration program implemented in Riau during the New Order era. This transmigration program aims to even out the population in various islands in Indonesia. The transmigration process has an impact on cultural assimilation which produces a new culture due to interactions between ethnic groups.

2. Structural Assimilation

Structural assimilation is the process of mixing different components in social institutions by considering elements related to society. So in the structural assimilation of social processes and social interactions so that a social system of mixing different components occurs in social institutions by considering elements related to society.

This indicates that the form of structural assimilation is more an example of formal institutions carried out in the government system.

An example of structural assimilation can be seen in the Indonesian government system which is currently led by the president (presidential). Judging from its history, Indonesia was originally led by an absolute king. With structural assimilation, community participation is needed in general elections so as to create a just state.

3. Marital Assimilation

Marital assimilation is a form of adjustment in society where marriage is legally and legally according to religion to give birth to new offspring. The combination of togetherness between two people who love this is done as a form of collaboration of affection that chooses to live together.

For example, cross-marriage between ethnic groups. As for what can be mentioned in this marriage assimilation, for example, there are Padang people who live in Papua in building restaurants. Due to living in Papua for a long time, in the end many children of the Padang people marry native Papuans. Until finally this condition can be called marital assimilation.

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4. Linguistic Assimilation

Linguistic assimilation is the process of mixing the language components used by people in everyday life. This cooperation serves to adapt to civilization and the development of time.

An example of linguistic assimilation is the role of community life that merges into social groups. This situation has led to the emergence of a new language as a prerequisite for social interaction in society.

With the emergence of regional languages, the emphasis on words manifested itself. For example, regarding the use of you, me or the terms alay, slang and other languages.

5. Assimilate Reception

Receptive attitude assimilation is a form of assimilation carried out by one ethnic group by reducing discriminatory attitudes or reducing stereotypes, stigma, and labels towards other ethnicities.

6. Assimilation of Architecture

Architectural assimilation is the construction of buildings or areas carried out by people to help them achieve their lives. The role of this assimilation is to approach the relationship of each component of life so that it has a different pattern.

7. Assimilation Identification

Identification assimilation is the process of identifying individuals from a group by creating their own personal identity in order to participate or exert influence in other social institutions.

8. Citizenship Assimilation

Assimilation of citizenship is carried out by certain groups by incorporating their basic cultural values ​​into the arena of politics, government, and the life of the nation and state.

9. Religious Assimilation

Religious assimilation is a collaboration that is carried out on differences in beliefs, the form of this integration is not in the teachings but in the process of carrying out worship rituals which are carried out without reducing one of the core religions that are believed.

An example of religious assimilation can be seen in the mourning events held 40 days after someone dies. This 40-day event is part of the Hindu religious tradition. However, this does not reduce the value of both religions.

Another example is the role of Islam in Indonesia, which organizes 3, 7, and 40 daily events in an effort to celebrate or mourn those who have died. Events 3, 7 and 40 days are part of the Hindu religious tradition.

Part of the religious culture in this assimilation does not reduce the value of Islam because every Islamic society always applies studies by reading prayers and tahlil to people who have died.

Examples of Assimilation in Everyday Life

With assimilation, of course we feel the impact. Here’s an example of assimilation that we usually feel in everyday life.

  1. The emergence of dangdut music, where dangdut is the result of a combination of traditional regional music and Indian music.
  2. There is a culture of adultery/premarital relations under the guise of courtship which incidentally is not from Indonesian culture.
  3. Indonesian people who follow foreign tourists by wearing bikini clothes on the beach.
  4. The habit of using a spoon/fork to eat for some Indonesian people. At first this custom was imitated by the Indonesian elite from European society, but now most Indonesians use a spoon/fork to eat.
  5. The fusion of Betawi and Chinese cultures has resulted in new cultures, for example the Cokek dance and Lenong dance.

Difference between Assimilation and Acculturation

Assimilation and acculturation are concepts related to interaction and communication between individuals and communities along with different cultures in society.

Basically, these two things are examples of forms of cultural adaptation that exist in social processes. Both are related to the process of entering and mixing several different cultures. Of course, it is not surprising that many have difficulty distinguishing them.

Acculturation is defined as a form of cultural change resulting from interactions between cultural groups that emphasize acceptance of new cultural patterns and elements in society.

In simple terms, acculturation is a process of entering a foreign culture into a particular culture. The foreign culture is accepted and processed into its own culture, without eliminating the elements of the original culture.

Assimilation itself is known as a fusion of several cultures to produce a new culture. This is because the social processes that occur in society focus on achieving unity by eliminating the differences between these cultures.

From the discussion above, it can be said that assimilation is the adjustment of a new culture to an old culture that can create a new culture. Thus the discussion of assimilation and its types. Hopefully all of the discussion above adds to Sinaumed’s’ insight. If you want to get more information about assimilation, then you can do it by reading the books available at .

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Author: Yufi Cantika Sukma Divine