The University of Arizona

Assimilation and Ethnicity: Ecological and Demographic Factors in Colonial Chiapas, Mexico

Clare Yarborough


Culture change has traditionally been a major research
problem in anthropology. Work on this problem has focused
primarily on studies of internal and external factors which
influence culture change. This discussion concerns external
factors and focuses on changes that occur in one culture as the
result of prolonged and continuous contact with a second culture.
This paper addresses the question of why some populations adapt
to culture contact by assimilation while others adapt through the
maintenance of cultural distinctiveness. This problem is well—
suited to analysis from an ecological perspective because it
involves mutual adaptation to a new social environment brought on
by the contact situation.



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