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HOME AS NOWHERE OR SOMEWHERE.
(Active research on cultural adjustment:
acculturation & adaptation of immigrants in
Sudip Joshi and Dominic Savior Chuwku
DSS C25, DIAK
Degree Programme in Social Services
3rd April, 2009
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
2.Refering to previous researches 4
3.1 Cultural identity 8
3.2 Cultural dimensions 8
4. Cultural adjustment 10
4.1 Definitions and concepts 11
Enculturation, Acculturation& Adaptation
5. Methods and Procedure of study 13
6. Interviews and analysis
6.1 Cultural adjustment as personality and support 15
6.2 Separation from cultures 16
6.3 Generation of nowhere 18
6.4 Living in the middle 19
6.5 Accepted for color 21
7. Self reflection through own roots( Nepalese) 22
8. Personal note- Nigerian connection 23
9. Conclusion 24
10. References 25
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Jarvenpaa, a beautiful garden city in South Finland stands at the heart of Tuusula Lake. In
recent years it has been seen as mixture for identities involving visible involvement and
activities of newer and different culture. The location of the city to be nearer to the
capital, Helsinki and comparatively cheaper to accommodate in this very place has been
attracting lots of people including immigrants to live here. With a population of 38,000,
Järvenpää is a vigorous commercial and industrial city specializing in high technology-
oriented metal industry. The city is home to a number of internationally successful
companies, such as Metso Paper and Rocla (Järvenpää - The city of Sibelius). These
institutions have visible indication of immigrants in Jarvenpaa with the technical and
expert manpower they use, who are non-Finns. Next to this with Diaconia University of
Applied Sciences attracting international students and Nutukka- II in recent years for
integrating asylum seekers in Finland, the number of immigrants in Jarvenpaa has been
and will be rising in double figures and multiples. As seen through years and recorded in
histories, the conflicts due to cultures has a significant note in societal level. On this
scenario we; as Pathos- I are looking the quest of native culture towards the shift of new
culture or vice versa and native culture against new culture or native culture and new
culture together, understanding the cultural mix that is increasing in Jarvenpaa.
We understand culture as one of the key factors in the societal level which can lead to
acculturation, adaptation, inclusion while exclusion and marginalization on the other
hand. Living between cultures can impart positively or negatively in the social well- being
of foreigners. We understand the need to assess the
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Vulnerability and challenges faced by immigrants due to cultural mix in Järvenpää. We
realize the fact that not enough research has been done on this topic and the problem
arising from this could lead to many social problems for immigrants. In focal point we are
Cultural adjustment as acculturation and adaptation of immigrants in Jarvenpaa
to live in Finnish culture while still maintaining their own native roots.
2. REFERING TO PREVIOUS RESEARCHES
With a nomenclature as Pathos-I, representing a Nepali and a Nigerian we understand
the influence of our own roots while analyzing a situation and also international
environment on this topic. Next to this no significant research has been seen done in
Finland based on English language. Therefore we are looking through the researches
done in various horizons.
Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba, who runs Samananta Institute in Kathmandu Nepal now,
has had a research in Acculturation and Adaptation for National University of
Singapore in 1999. The research employed a new and recently developed
instrument to examine the two dimensions (host and co-national identification)
and modes of acculturation and their relationship to sojourner adjustment.
International aid workers in Nepal completed a questionnaire including the
acculturation Index and the assessments of psychological and sociocultural
adjustment. Analyses revealed that strong co-national identification predicted
enhanced psychological well-being, whereas strong host national identification
was associated with better sociocultural adaptation. Acculturation styles were
also related to adjustive outcomes. Sojourners who adopted an integrated style
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fared better psychologically than others, whereas those who assumed an
assimilationist perspective experienced fewer social difficulties.
(Acculturation and Adaptation Revisited.)
Andres G. Gil, University of Connecticut and William A. Vega, University of
California-Berkeley did a research in acculturation stress and adaptation of
Cubans and Nicaraguans in United States. This was a study of acculturation and
acculturation stress among Cuban and Nicaraguan adolescent males and their
parents. The sample consisted of 674 Cuban-American and 211 Nicaraguan-
American 6th and 7th grade adolescents and one of their parents. Hypotheses
predicting group differences in acculturation stress were tested. Analyses were
bivariate and multivariate, using parent and adolescent data. Findings indicated
important differences in acculturation stress for different cohorts of immigrants
within the two ethnic groups as well as differences between the subsamples.
Important differences were also found between adolescent and parental
acculturation stress, with more recent immigrants among the adolescents
experiencing more language conflicts, while parents reported more long-term
language conflicts. Adolescent and parental acculturation-related stressors and
acculturation levels were strongly associated with lower levels of family cohesion,
increased parent/child acculturation conflicts, adolescent self-esteem and
adolescent perceived teacher derogation. The differences and similarities found
between the Cuban and Nicaraguan groups, parents and adolescents, are
discussed with a focus on the importance of the family as a coping source for the
stresses associated with immigrant adaptation.
(Two different Worlds, Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, Vol. 13, No. 3,
Pg. 435-456, 1996.)
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Ulla Riikonen, student at University of Jyvaskyla did a research on cultural
adaptation of Finnish AU pairs in England in 2002 through Finnish Perspective.
The cultural distance affected the process to general levels. Finland and England
being western and with similar political, economic and religious systems the
integration for immigrants was much easier. While, Great Britain has a longer
history of immigration and thus the attitude of people towards foreigners in the
society was supposedly tolerant. The most important reason was seen as the
good language skill as those who went there could speak good English. While
social contact were and important element in the adaptation of the group of au
pairs. The quick network of friends they made helped in quick adaptation of the
Finns. Adaptation depended on individuals and how social they were.
(Riikonen, pg 84- 88, 2002)
Culture can be seen as a broader aspect and a very wide concept; it has been defined in
different ways and different comfort levels. The culture being discussed here is not
limited to the culture of game, hobbies or food but to a broader level of way of living and
the roots of people especially immigrants in Jarvenpaa. Primarily culture can be
discussed as the pattern of feelings, thinking and acting that have been acquired usually
in early childhood and usually shared with people of the same environment (Hofstede
1997, Pg. 4-5).
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In addition to Hofstede, some other researchers view culture as a two dimensional
concept or two distinctions, objective and subjective culture.
Objective culture refers to the visible elements within a culture, such as food, clothing
and tools. Subjective culture is the unseen part of a culture, including for example
beliefs, norms, roles, values and attitudes that are difficult to observe and more likely
are the immortal ones. (Triandis 1994, pg. 16.) Moreover, Scheider and Barsoux (1997)
believe unseen culture is divided into two sub layers. On the first layer lie values and
beliefs which explain the seen behavior. Further down in the unseen are people’s
underlying assumptions, the unquestioned and unchallenged mental patterns. These
assumptions are foundations of culture, giving rise to different behaviors and artifacts in
the visible part of the culture. While Storti(1990) also views culture as a shared system of
values and beliefs that become manifested in people’s behavior. According to him,
coming to terms with culture means having to come to terms with the behavior of
people in that culture and to the culture of the nation (Storti 1990, Pg. 14).
Among many others, Cushner and Brislin state that culture is socially constructed; it is
created and maintained by people and their interaction with other people. It is passed
on from one generation to the next and mediated through several sources, such as
schools, the media, experiences and stories. (Cushner and Brislin 1996,Pg. 7) And it’s the
point where adaptation and acculturation takes place and keeps on constructing.
3.1 CULTURAL IDENTITIES: WESTERN AND NON- WESTERN
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Western culture is derived from reason; it is based on the facts of objective reality and
human nature. This means that it is universal and open to everyone, transcending
geography, race and the way of living. But however, here we are
looking at western culture through way of living. We see namely the values of reason,
individualism, happiness, rights and capitalism for western culture (Western Culture
Global). The liberal way of living and freedom of actions can be discussed under it as
well. In this regard the liberal outlook of society towards relationship makes it to the
floor as well.
While, when we are talking about the non- western culture we are talking about the next
edge to the western aspect. It represents the Asians or Africans or Latino or the cultures
in south part of the continent. We see namely the values of groups, dependency, deep
norms and values and masculinity for it. And we also can see it as a conservative society
through western approach.
In this research we are looking between the interactions of cultures and intercultural or
intracultual adaptation between it in general level. And we also aim to look through the
adaptation and acculturation between the two western cultures of different regions or
between western and non western with visibly different two cultures.
3.2 CULTURAL DIMENSIONS
This discussion is considered important because cultural differences between the
original and settlement society can give rise to many adjustment problems, whereas
similarities found in them can significantly facilitate the adjustment process.
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Cultural (dis)similarities can be seen using different models that researchers have made
to compare cultural dimensions. One of the most widely approved models was
developed by Hofstede(1997), and its chosen for the basis of examination of Finnish and
non-Finnish culture here.
Hofstede’s model is based on four cultural dimensions (power distance, collectivism-
individualism, masculinity, and uncertainty avoidance) which are used to describe the
difference in communication between the cultures.
Power distance refers to the degree to which power, wealth and prestige are
unequally distributed in a society, for example, at workplace and at home. In societies
with high power distance, the power in the hands of a small number of people, whereas
in low power distance societies it is shared more equally. High power distance is
characterized at home and at work through a clear division of labor and respect, seen
e.g. in the respect for parents and older people in general. In low power distance
cultures, on the other hand, employees and family members are more equal. In this
scenario Finland and western world can be seen with low power distance whereas most
of the Asian and African countries can be rated high power distance cultures. (Hofstede
1997, pg. 23-48.)
In the collectivist-individualistic dimension Finland and west is seen as an
individualistic society whereas eastern and African culture are seen as collectivist
cultures. In practices individualism means emphasizing and encouraging each person’s
own potential, for example young people are encouraged to study and live
independently in their early age. Collectivistic cultures, on the other hand, praise the
value of a family and relatives, and children are responsible to live and take care of their
parents until they die. One interesting detail that Hofstede mentions is that while in
collectivistic cultures silence is well accepted behavior in social gatherings, in
individualistic culture its abnormal. (Hofstede 1997, pg. 49-78)
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The masculinity-femininity dimension refers to roles that a society sees
appropriate for the sexes. In masculine society like Nepal, men are supposed to be tough
and competitive, while women should be caring and kind. Masculine culture prefers hard
values for example single parents are not well accepted in
the society especially female single parent. In masculine society women often end up
home makers when children are born, feminine society have a large number of working
mothers like in Finland, which is among the most feminine societies based on Hofstede’s
findings.( Hofstede 1997, pg. 79-108.)
The final dimension, uncertainty avoidance, describes the extent to which people
of a culture feel threatened in new, unknown situations. Societies with strong
uncertainty avoidance are often characterized by high levels of anxiety, need for rules,
avoidance of unfamiliar risks, precision and punctuality. Then again, people living in
weak uncertainty avoidance societies have lower stress levels, feel less need for strict
rules, and possess curiosity for unknown things. Hofstede’s study shows that both
Finland and western world are cultures of weak uncertainty avoidance and opposite to
the rest. (Hofstede 1997, pg. 109-138.)
With knowledge of these dimensions its visible and clear about the western and
non-western culture living in two different edges. The vision of this chapter was to
discuss the concepts and theoretical models to compare cultures. These criterions help
to make a general discussion and evaluation about the adaptation and acculturation
during the interactions between two cultures.
4. CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT
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This chapter will concentrate on the theme of cultural adjustment, which is referred to
also as adaptation. It is a familiar process to most people to some extent because, for
instance, moving to another town or getting a new job requires similar mental
modifications as adaptation, even though the scale is different. (Storti 1990, pg. 76-82.)
A well adapted person feels at home and is content in the new environment.
Moreover, s/he has developed a cultural competence including cultural
knowledge and language skills. This task is effective and maintains good interpersonal
relation to the hosts. Brislin (1981) reminds us that a complete adjustment involves
change of beliefs, values, attitudes and behaviors. However, not all the things in the new
culture need to be accepted; it is a part of true adjustment to acknowledge this (Storti
1990, pg.65). People can also accept and adjust according to their own comfort level
most of the times.
4.1 DEFINATIONS AND CONCEPTS
This section will discuss the modes of culture adjustment that shall include
enculturation, acculturation and adaptation.
4.1.1 ENCULTURATION, ACCULTURATION and ADAPTATION
Children are born and grow up in certain social and cultural surroundings, by the
influence of which they learn the important communicational, social and cognitive
behavioral rules prevailing in the community. The process is called socialization, and the
process of enculturation is an integral part of it. Enculturation means especially the
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processes of socialization which links the individual to the surrounding cultural contexts.
(Gudykunst and Kim 1994, pg 215, Berry 1992, pg 271.)
While enculturation takes place in early childhood, acculturation can happen at any
point in life and more than once. Acculturation is the process of cultural and
psychological change that is hypothesized to occur when two culturally different groups
come into contact (Berry, 2005).Acculturation is the exchange of cultural features that
results during this continuous firsthand contact; the original cultural patterns of either or
both groups may be altered, but the groups remain distinct. (Kottak 2007.) It is viewed as
the cultural and psychological changes that an individual or a group goes through as a
result of changing cultural milieu. It is sometimes called second culture learning or re-
socialization because it involves similar process as socialization, that is learning to act
according to the behavioral, cognitive and affective pattern of people in new
environment. (Berry 2005.) Acculturation could happen at any point in the life of
individuals especially when they live outside their natural culture because of the need to
adjust and adapt for the living.
It is possible to distinguish two levels of acculturation. Individual (or
psychological) acculturation which refers to the changes that take place in the
psychology of an individual as a result of the culture contact situation. Individuals
respond differently to acculturation situation, and the changes they go through can vary
from rather easy behavioral shifts to acculturative stress, where the individual gets
overwhelmed by the cultural difference and cannot cope. Group- level acculturation, as
the term implies, is a collective phenomenon and means the changes that take place in
the culture of acculturating group. (Berry in press; Berry 1997, pg 6-13.)
Adaptation is the long term outcome of acculturation. It is a term used most
often to describe the psychological changes and eventual outcomes of individuals
experiencing acculturation (Berry in Press, Berry 1997:6, 13.) The level of adaptation
depends on various factors like personal motivation and host culture attitudes. And
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therefore, people’s outcome varies from poor to good adaptation (Berry 1997, pg 13-14;
Gudykunst and Kim 1992, pg 217).
There are three kinds of adaptation; a person who is socioculturally well
adapted can manage smoothly in the physical surroundings of the new environment that
means the person possesses the behavioral competence needed. Psychological
adaptation refers to individuals physical and psychological well being in the new
environment, including feelings of contentment, clear sense of personal and cultural
identity and good mental health. Finally, achieving good
economic adaptation includes finding a satisfying job in the new milieu and being
effective in the work. (Berry 1997, pg 14.) Referring to the literature discussed above, it
is clearly visible to see cultural adjustment, enculturation, acculturation and adaptation
with similar senses. They more or less intersect each other. While, we are analyzing
these topic based on individuals or families which are also more like individuals rather
than groups as we see groups here as communities. This indicates the psychological level
and well being of individual to be looked through which overlaps with the understanding
of adaptation and cultural adjustment in broader sense. Hence all these terms are
viewed together during this research.
5. METHOD AND PROCEDURE OF STUDY
We were based on the qualitative approach of data collection for our research. However,
for literature and knowledge quantitative data and researches were also studied to
understand the numerical statistics. And during some of the literature it has influences
from this view. During data collection we typically relied on universal methods of
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qualitative research. We participated in the required settings making clear distinctions
and dividing the labor between the two research members. And in the continuation we
did direct observations within these settings. We chose primary setting as the exposure
in Jarvenpaa city in a browser level. We walked through the streets and busy junctions or
hubs to observe through the scenarios. It was a good setting to see the exposed life of
immigrants, we observed the groups they had and their ways they exposed to the
surrounding. The supermarkets and restaurants; either the immigrant in a
restaurant or the immigrant running a restaurant both were observed browser. The
objective culture could be seen and felt in this setting. The next secondary level of
setting was an intimate zone where we talked to the immigrants and interviewed them.
Here the interview was unstructured and the questions were open in nature. We asked
them questions following with each and every scenario and always tried to maintain the
flow we had. In this due course we had to find the emotions and feelings of the
interviewee. We were observing the beliefs and values they had. We always made sure
we interviewed them from a third person level being a spectator as we understood we
being immigrants as well could bring manipulated and biased information when we cited
their interview. We prevented the fast analysis of data while writing, it was a way to
make sure we dictated the exact and accurate information they provided.
The phases of interview were further divided in different levels of identity as nationality,
family status and duration of stay in the host culture or Finnish culture.
In early days of data collection we interviewed three different families, an Asian, an
African and a European who were either married or living together to a Finn. We were
successful to visit the Asian and African home and see the live atmosphere they had in
their daily lives at their accommodation. But we interviewed a Dutch- Finn family at
Rinkula which is a melting pot for immigrants to come together with the Finnish society.
In this due course we were also able to meet a Norwegian family who were living in
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Finland for a decade now. Understanding the fact of immigrants now having direct and
stronger contribution to Finnish economy with their rising businesses in Jarvenpaa, we
interviewed a man from mid East Asia.
The collected data was categorized into patterns as the primary basis for organizing and
reporting results. It was after then the data were analyzed through different concepts
and theories. Meanwhile, the data were also analyzed through our own beliefs or roots
contributing our self reflection in the analysis of the documents and materials we had.
6. INTERVIEWS AND ANALYSIS
6.1. CULTURAL ADJUSTMENT AS PERSONALITY AND SUPPORT
He is a South Asian living in Jarvenpaa for two years now. He is likely to have a daughter
this summer from his Finnish wife. They were married last autumn after their half year
relationship. And today he is a happily married family man with a good job and good
apartment. He is well adjusted immigrant in a short duration of time living in Finland.
When he came to Finland leaving a reputed managerial work in Nepal, it was harder for
him to work as a cleaner in the early days of living in Jarvenpaa. He had an obligation and
need to support himself in his student life and his family back home which he still
continues. He came from a masculine society where most of the women were
homemakers; it was unusual for him to see working women everywhere with fewer
visible men in the frontline work. Now he well understands the feminine and liberal
Finnish society. He had self- embarrassment to work as a cleaner in front of the whole
mass as he came from south Asian roots with high power distance. Now he understands
the dignity of labor and feels rather proud that he earns for himself through his sweat.
For him exposure of a physical relationship before marriage was avoidable when he was
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living in Nepal. After coming to Finland he married after an unwed relationship of half
year which is still unexposed to his family as he understands the norm where unwed
relationship before marriage is unacceptable in the culture. He comes from a culture
where going to bars, partying late nights and drinking is still a restriction but now he is
well into night life of this society. Acculturation in his case is distinctly visible in objective
level where his drinking and visible ways of life have changed a lot to western extent. In
subjective level he is in his first layer of
acculturation where his beliefs and norms towards work, relationship and working
women have changed. Whilst his second layer of culture remains same with strong
values for his family back home. Despite his short stay here, now he is well adjusted to
this society, he speaks good finish, goes to sauna and likes Finnish food. He feels at
home in Finland. In this due time, his personal motivation to stay in Finland and
interpersonal communication has helped him in quick adjustment with this Finnish
culture. His friend circle of Finns and family ties exposed him more to the society and
had moral or social support from them. The attitude of host society has been always
good to him. These could be seen as clear factors to help him adapt to the host culture
sooner but his own sociable and friendly character also helped him grow to this stage
However, he still plans to live his old age at his native place, amongst his own culture. He
is happy to have a daughter but confesses the truth that it would be harder for him to
accept the situations later when his daughter will have a independent life and open
relationship. His second subjective layer of culture still remains the same. Next to this his
desire to make his kid bilingual speaker of his own Nepali language and Finnish language
of this culture where he lives, represents his wish to save Nepalese identity in his child.
He understands and plans his home and active life in Finland but still wants to live his
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elderly life in Nepal. In this scenario for him his home shifted from Nepal to Finland and
for sure he wants to spend his elderly years back at his root again.
6.2. SEPARATION FROM CULTURES
This interview reveals the impact of time for adjustment of an immigrant in Finnish
society. This very man is in his middle adulthood who has contributed two
decades of his life in Finnish society. He came to Finland with his three Egyptian friends
in early 90’s. They went around Finland selling arts and portraits. He remembers the
time when nobody will show him the way when he got lost between places and
everybody would avoid him and his business. He builds a film of stereotypes toward
Finns and he did also avoid them then. He lived in his culture and always maintains it. He
remembers it was 1999 when he had a Finn friend in his circle beforehand he avoided
personal contacts while only continuing selling his art for the crowd. He enjoyed living
amongst his mid east companion. He states later with more time by 2000’s Finnish
people started accepting immigrants at least in southern regions. He started having
more Finnish friend circles and it’s after then he later married a Finnish girl. He has two
sons from his wife and has been living happily since 2000 but he has a feeling to be a
foreigner in this land and feels same way for his brown –skin children. He goes to Egypt
every year because he misses his culture. However people now take him as a man who
belongs to Finland after living here so long. He has been more individualistic than before
and prefers quiet atmosphere which he was the opposite way according to his friends in
Egypt. He also accepts this acculturation in him. He still maintains his non-drinking
habits and being a Muslim, prays to his Allah every afternoon in the direction of Mecca.
But still his people name his belongingness to Finland now. While he never feels to
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belong to this culture and to this place. He has moved somewhere between these two
cultures and we see his situation as a state of separation from both cultures, which
maintains the acculturation stage.
As observed above, it has been seen that acculturation and adaptation has degrees of
influence from the cultural distance of an individual and also depends on the attitude of
society, for instance in early 90’s where he was even excluded. However, the length or
duration of stay also plays a stronger role for adjustment to new culture and people. But
above all these, adaptation and acculturation is
more to psychological stage of an individual so it directly depends on their motivation,
interpersonal communication in the society and attitude as well.
6.4 GENERATION OF NOWHERE
The summary we are presenting here is based on numerous short interviews done with
the Vietnamese and Somalia family in closed settings i.e. Prisma, restaurants in
Jarvenpaa and Rinkula. According to this Somalia adult , he refers to the time in late 90’s
and 2000’s when young group of Somalia youths grouped together and fought against
the skin-head groups in train stations. These group of youths were the one who either
were born or lived their childhood since middle 80s. Prior to those time when Finnish
society was excluding foreigners, these youths wanted to fight for their identity, and
fight against their exclusion. The skin head groups used physical violence and racist
attacks against immigrants then and are occasionally seen still today. And the Somalia
youths did same against them. In recent days Somalia kids and youths who have lived all
their life here feel to belong to this culture, they have similar cultural patterns as that of
Finns as they grew up here and were in this cultural atmosphere. This culture has been
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an adapted culture by their parents while moving to this place as refugees and has been
inherited with modifications to the younger generations. And the adaptation of this
culture has been a must to all of them since then as they have no platform to return
back. However, still today they feel they do not belong to this land and to this culture
despite most of this new generation has not even seen their ancestral land and home
which can be the next way they can belong. Dictating their words literally this is the
generations of nowhere and is still in the quest for finding it. The similar case is with the
Vietnamese families and youngsters.
However, the unchanged second layer of subjective culture even remains dominant with
newer generations, the respect for elderly and family ties still remains similar, which
indicates the deep-root essence of these people.
6.5 LIVING IN THE MIDDLE.
This interview laid open the cultural context dilemma of a young African immigrant who
came to Finland as an asylum seeker, from one of the sub Saharan African countries
about twelve months ago. After his asylum seeking process, he was drafted for the
Nuttukka project where he learned Finnish language and culture under four months. He
now speaks good Finnish language, have a good job and a Finnish girl friend with which
he lived with. Narrating his earliest encounter with Finnish society, he experienced sort
of total different realities from what he used to experience since his childhood in Africa.
These realities includes; Finnish attitude, Finnish pattern of living, societal organization,
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diets, language, culture and values. At first, he perceived Finnish society as strange since
things were done and perceived differently, from the way they were in his native
country. This could be termed as cultural shock. For instance, In his native country it is a
must that a young person will greet an elderly person whenever they meet and show
some respect, but here children even call their elders by their first name which is
considered as one of the worse behavior a young person can display. According to him,
even when he tried to greet elderly people here in Finland, they don't respond to his
greeting which is opposite of what he used to know. That way, he felt something was
wrong with the society. However he realizes in order for him to have a good life in
Finland, he must of necessary accepts Finnish way of living and then be able to integrate
to the main stream of the society. The opportunity to partake in the Nuttukka project of
the Seurakuntaopisto offered him the ample chance to learn Finnish language which is
one of the major things that will facilitate his integration into the society. This marked
the first leg of his acculturation and adaptation processes. Nevertheless, using our
methodological analysis to describe the process he underwent, we could say that the
objective culture of Finnish society made evident in Järvenpää where he lived, were easy
for him to acclimatized to in the sense that he quickly accepted Finnish diets, mode of
dressing, mode of speaking e.t.c. This could be evident in both first layer and second
layer of the subjective culture. However, coming to the subjective culture, the process is
slower and difficult since it has to do with the psycho-social changes. By this we mean
that it is not normally easy and simple for people to change their mentality, value and
custom to a new one. It is a process that takes time. Nevertheless, while some subjective
cultures could be change or modified, some will always remain unchanged and
unaltered. For instance, prior to coming to Finland, the young African immigrant use to
belief that it is immoral for young people to smoke cigarette or drink alcohol, but here in
Finland, the case is different, young children of 12 to 16 smoke cigarette and drink
alcohol even before the presence of an adult without being penalized. Now he accept it
as Finnish way and even see nothing wrong in it anymore since he now believe that
people should be allowed to decide what they want to do and not the society. Again
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prior to coming to Finland, He believed that marriage is for a male person and a female
person but getting here he saw that the Finnish society accept man and man or woman
and woman who live together as sexual partners as couple and extend to them marriage
rights. This aspect of Finnish culture he will never accept irrespective of how many years
he stays in Finland. Having undergone conscious and unconscious cultural bath in
Finland, this young man sees himself as being in dilemma due to the attitude of people
both in his host country and his native country. According to him, despites his
acculturation to Finnish life and having a Finnish girl friend, Finnish people still consider
him as a foreigner irrespective of the fact that he speaks their language. He gave
instance of an
event at one Finnish bar in Helsinki where two Finnish men where speaking and making
racist remark on him despite the fact that he was with his Finnish girl friend. Then back
at home in Africa, his friends and some relatives see him as a foreigner since his
attitudes and behaviors have change from what they use to know. For them, he now
keeps alone and talks less which they interpreted as being pride and arrogant simply
because he came back from Europe. Their behaviors towards him made him also to
believe that he no longer belongs there since they have stop seeing him as one of their
own. And for this he concludes home is nowhere.
6.6 ACCEPTED FOR COLOR
The acculturation we are referring now is between the western cultures. Referring to the
Norwegian family or the Dutch- Finn family they both have had the easy adjustment
through the quick adaptation in Finland. The subjective culture remained similar with
their beliefs and way of life. The acculturation and adaptation they needed was in the
objective culture, in food and visible living ways.
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May be it was moving to an unknown region in my own country where people
spoke different language. We have same skin and look similar. (Dutch interviewee.)
Learning language is not a big deal; we Europeans are always interested to learn
new languages. And I am a Scandinavian, we also have saunas but sauna here is like a
gay party. But its ok nudity is not a big deal. (Norwegian interviewee.)
It was obvious that westerners had easier adaptation in Finland because they had similar
roots. And the easy degree of cultural adjustment can be also revealed as of the same
color of skin they had. They represented a group of people who believed they always
believed, they belonged somewhere in a broader way to Europe.
7. SELF REFLECTION FROM OWN ROOTS (NEPALESE)
My childhood developed with a constant hunger to practice a family life and to see my
own father. I met my father when I was 6 years old as my mother wanted my wishes to
get fulfilled. This was the first time I was at my home, but the coldness of the people
there and the way they treated my mother drove away my hunger. (Joshi 2008, pg 3.)
Now living almost a year in Finland I have grown more individually, I feel my
responsibility for my mother and she still means a lot to me, but the hunger for a bigger
family and friend circle no longer remains my inner drive. I have adapted the
individualism of Finnish culture and my friends today even complain me for speaking less
than I used to do before. I now can understand my acculturation in the first layer of
subjective culture but my second and deeper level remains same; importance of my
mother in my life remains stronger.
Finland has been completely a next edge of world for me. The language here has been
barrier for me time and again, but they will adapt me and I will adapt them with time.
The way of life, the culture and the society, they completely varied from where I came.
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The development and infrastructure has been tremendous. People have their own
independent life and weekend pub or weekend parties means a lot here. I remember I
had never been to any of night places when I was back home and hardly few people have
night life there. Talking on sexual life and the sexual freedom has always been harder in
Nepal, although cities are westernizing and similar scenarios of Europe can be seen but
hardly. I went to bar for the first time at Jarvenpaa. (Joshi 2008, pg 12.)
With the increment in the duration of my stay in Finland I feel to be more acculturated
and adapting to this place. My beliefs and values towards night life, relationships and
sexual life have turned liberal. And weekend parties and drinking has developed as a
routine these days. Hence I see cultural adjustment as a natural process during the
interaction between two cultures.
PERSONAL NOTE - NIGERIAN CONNECTION.
Having my root in Nigeria and my stem in Finland, I consider myself a subject matter of
acculturation, adaptation and adjustment.
Applying the contents and theories of our findings in this mini research, I call to
mind my first few months in Järvenpää and my life so far to the present moment.
I witness like every foreigner some disruptions in my psychological order due to
contact with a total foreign culture. For me, it was as if this country belong to another
total world different from my own. Everything appeared to me from the left hand
position- odd. Unlike my own culture were people are warm and nosy, I saw Finnish
people and society as a dumb society where people avoid fellow humans and interact
with gadgets (Game, mobile phone, MP3 etc.)This was my first impression of Finland.
Then other things which time and space would not allow me to mention here also
P a g e | 24
perturbed me about the new culture I found myself. Gradually I began to integrate and
adapt starting with eating Finnish food . This development continued and led to
adaptation. I began accepting some aspect of Finnish life, the more I do the more some
aspect of my own culture is modified. Though the process is still on, but I could say that
my adjustment began when I starting assimilating some Finnish way of living especially
the objective culture. Now even my family back Nigeria admitted that I have changed a
lot. They notice change in my mode of speaking, reasoning and acting even from phone
conversion. Though I am acculturating and adapting into Finnish culture, there are some
aspect of my original culture that resist any change or modification. That means that I
still remain some vital elements of my culture and then we never change irrespective of
the number of year I will spend in Finland.
The aim of this chapter will be to discuss the findings and analysis from this present
topic. The six different cases will be grouped together and looked through the self
reflection of the researchers as well to bring an overall summary of findings.
Acculturation is the process of cultural and psychological change and Adaptation is the
long term outcome of acculturation. These both lead to make a scene of cultural
adjustment. Through the study, we now can understand acculturation as a natural
process during the interactions of two cultures while cultural adjustment as an output
due to the need to adapt with the new scenario. This cultural adjustment directly
depends on the personal motivation, migration motive and personality of the immigrant.
The case of Nepalese interviewee is a example. While the cultural distance maintained
by the immigrant and the attitude of host community also played a significant role as
seen in the case mid East Asian interviewee. While, the adjustment was easier for white
Europeans as of their color. (Refer to Acceptance for color).
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Now when looking at acculturation it is the objective culture or seen culture of fooding,
clothing or visible ways of life which changes rapidly. So our discussion now is for the
subjective culture or unseen part of culture. As referred by Triandis (1994), Subjective
culture is the unseen part of a culture, including for example beliefs, norms, roles, values
and attitudes that are difficult to observe and more likely are the immortal ones.
Schneider and Brasseux (1997) believe unseen culture is divided into two sub layers. We
have observed and analyzed the data , through which we can state that the first layer of
subjective culture are prior to change during the cultural adjustment phases but the
deep and essence of subjective culture remains immortal and even transfers with the
newer generation even with absolutely different adapted and acquired culture through
inheritance. For instance, The Somali and Vietnamese youths grown up in Finland, they
acted like Finns in all ways but still family meant a lot to them. During this adjustment it
is visible that adaptation of secondary culture has direct influence in the change of
objective culture for instance the Guinean man whose belief towards cigarette and
drinking became liberal started drinking and smoking as well. However, not all the things
in the new culture need to be accepted; it is a part of true adjustment to acknowledge
this (Storti 1990, pg.65). In the same scenario it is dominantly explained that the roots of
people always remains the same despite of how good the cultural adjustment has been.
Even the well and easily culturally adjusted Norwegian family was always proud to be
Norwegians and showed strong sense of superiority of their nationality while living in
# As seen in the case of Somalia and Vietnamese kids, during the interactions of two
distinctly different cultures there will be a stage of GENERATION OF NOWHERE, where
P a g e | 26
one of the generations will feel to be living in quest for identity and quest for their
# In respect with the findings from the study we can state that, during the cultural
interactions two distinctly different culture, the cultural adjustment will eventually lead
to a situation of HOME AS NOWHERE due to the cultural shift or adjustment with new
culture while still having the presence of unchanged and immortal second layer of
subjective culture in the immigrant.
However for Europeans (white), they had a sense of belonging to each other. In
broader sense they belonged somewhere in west always.
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