The notion of cultural assimilation into an American identity: Abstract or concrete?

Julie Ann Rivera, University of Texas at El Paso


Assimilation is believed to be the process immigrants follow to become "American." To be American is to be equal to other Americans in societal, employment, and educational opportunities. But this is not and cannot be an outcome of the assimilation process in the United States. There are multiple definitions and expectations of assimilation; too many to allow a clear outcome. This project addresses the complexity associated with all versions of assimilate, the multiple definitions, processes, and outcomes associated with this term, and demonstrates that there is no concrete resolution to an assimilation process due to the multitude of definitions attached to assimilation. My research argues that cultural assimilation is determined by the formation and use of definitions, and the social and persuasive aspect of defining. The perception and definition of assimilation varies greatly, and this variance calls into question whether assimilation is simply a concept or something tangible that can be clearly achieved (consistently accepted or acknowledged). For this to be tangible it cannot be merely local acceptance, there must be a consistent, accepted definition throughout the United States. This project documents how the broad range of definitional options of assimilation makes it impossible to assign a concrete resolution to an assimilation process.^

Subject Area

Language, Rhetoric and Composition|Sociology, Social Structure and Development|Hispanic American Studies

Recommended Citation

Rivera, Julie Ann, "The notion of cultural assimilation into an American identity: Abstract or concrete?" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI1557786.