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Migration, cultural capital and acculturation

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Dinesh Bhugra, Cameron Watson, Antonio Ventriglio

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Review of Psychiatry
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2020

King's Authors


Migration is not a recent phenomenon. Human beings have moved around the globe for numerous reasons over past millennia and will continue to do so. Moving to a new culture, especially if there are differences in primary language, diet, dress etc can create difficulties in acculturation. Migrant experience is not homogenous during the process or in settling down post-migration. Individuals migrate alone, with families or in groups and do so for a number of reasons, e.g. educational, economic, socio-political or as a result of natural or manmade disasters. Each individual has their own culture and cultural capital which they carry with them wherever they go. Cultural capital needs to be differentiated from social capital although some common features persist. Cultural capital is shown to have three sources–objective, institutionalized and embodied. Each of these is likely to play a role in acculturation though some sources may be more effective than others. It is important to understand the role cultural capital plays in acculturation and positive settling down. It should be possible to use strengths of cultural capital to reduce post-migration distress. In this paper we present a potential model in understanding the role cultural capital can play in the acculturative processes.

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