cultural contact

(noun) The occurrence of two or more cultures coming into contact with each through conquest, immigration, mass media, trade, or travel.

Example: When Native Americans in North America met Europeans for the first time or when a foreign exchange student visits their host country.

Audio Audio Pronunciation: (cul·tur·al con·tact)

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Usage Notes:

  • Plural: cultural contacts
  • After cultural contact occurs, acculturation describes what happens on a societal and cultural level and enculturation describes what happens on an individual level.
  • Sociologist study how innovations lead to social acceptance in a cross-cultural dimension such as how different societies react to the rise of the internet.
  • Also called cultural accommodation.
  • Cultural contact used in a sentence: Native Americans were forever changed after cultural contact with Europeans.

Related Quotations:

  • “The kind of person we become depends greatly on what we learn during our formative years from our surrounding social groups and social environment” (Kendall 2006:105).

Additional Information:

Related Terms: 



Kendall, Diane. 2006. Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials. 5th ed. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.