Acculturation of Italians Toward the French and English Cultures and Its Effect on Lifestyles

ABSTRACT - This study investigates the pattern of acculturation and its impact on lifestyles for a minority subculture, Italian Canadians, in the bi-cultural environment of Quebec where French and English are the two dominant cultures. Results of this study show that the acculturation pattern of Italian Canadians has been shaped mainly by English cultural influences. They also show significant cultural influences on lifestyles, and provide partial support for the monotonic progression hypothesis regarding the effect of acculturation.



Citation:

Michel Laroche, Chankon Kim, Michael Hui, and Annamma Joy (1993) ,"Acculturation of Italians Toward the French and English Cultures and Its Effect on Lifestyles", in E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, eds. W. Fred Van Raaij and Gary J. Bamossy, Provo, UT : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 269-277.

European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1, 1993      Pages 269-277

ACCULTURATION OF ITALIANS TOWARD THE FRENCH AND ENGLISH CULTURES AND ITS EFFECT ON LIFESTYLES

Michel Laroche, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Chankon Kim, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Michael Hui, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

Annamma Joy, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada

[The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, as well as the technical assistance of Isabelle Miodek, Robert Reedick and Ingrid Bautausci.]

ABSTRACT -

This study investigates the pattern of acculturation and its impact on lifestyles for a minority subculture, Italian Canadians, in the bi-cultural environment of Quebec where French and English are the two dominant cultures. Results of this study show that the acculturation pattern of Italian Canadians has been shaped mainly by English cultural influences. They also show significant cultural influences on lifestyles, and provide partial support for the monotonic progression hypothesis regarding the effect of acculturation.

INTRODUCTION

The consequences of migration and resettlement on consumption activities is a topic of great importance to consumer researchers (Deshpande, Hoyer and Donthu 1886; Hirschman 1981; Wallendorf and Reilly 1983). The recent surge of interest in the study of culture and its impact on consumer behavior is indicative of the belief that consumption is in effect a cultural phenomenon (Hirschman 1981; Wallendorf and Reilly 1983; Deshpande, Hoyer, and Donthu 1986; Schaninger, Bourgeois, and Buss 1985). McCracken (1986) has pointed out that consumer goods possess cultural meaning, a meaning which goes beyond their utilitarian and commercial value. Since consumption activities are thus shaped, moulded, and driven by cultural factors, the changes that result from intercultural encounters will have a direct impact on consumption practices.

This paper examines the process of acculturation for Italians in the mainly bi-cultural environment of Quebec, Canada. English and French are the two dominant cultures of this region, and Italians represent the third largest ethnic community. Compared to the French- and the English-Canadians, Italians are relatively newcomers into the multicultural scene of Quebec, and they have been influenced in varying degrees by these two mainstream cultures.

Specifically, the purpose of this study is twofold. The first is to investigate the pattern of acculturation for Italians, given that they are confronted with cultural influences coming from both French and English Canada. The second is to investigate the impact of acculturation on their lifestyles. The extent to which acculturation engenders attitudes and behaviors consistent with those of a dominant culture is a point of significant interest for marketers. We examine this issue within the "monotonic progression perspective" (Valencia 1985; Triandis et al 1982).

LITERATURE REVIEW

One of the complexities faced by researchers of subculture is the dynamic nature of culture. It has been frequently argued that many of the ethnic classification methods are too simplistic and disregard the fluid connotation contained in the concept of culture (Hirschman 1981). In the prolonged contact with a dominant culture, subcultures undergo changes as their values and norms are influenced and become more compatible with those of the mainstream culture. This is especially apparent at the individual level. An immigrant joining a new environment may easily find that many of his/her traditional attitudinal and behavioral modes are no longer adaptive. Through the process of resocialization, s/he will come to a better understanding of the norms and values of the host society and subsequently his/her thoughts and behaviors will be more closely bounded by these.

In describing intercultural encounters and cultural change, the term "acculturation" is more appropriate than "assimilation." Assimilation assumes unidirectionality in cultural change, that is, immigrants are expected to move in the direction of the standard values and practises of the host society (Padilla 1980). Acculturation, on the other hand, suggests a form of cultural pluralism wherein an individual might choose to be more "ethnic" or more host cultural as the situation may warrant. Acculturation is referred to as the process by which an individual or a cultural group acquires some values and norms of another culture (Yinger 1985). Such a definition does not assume a loss of the original cultural values and norms by one group in the process of learning new ones. The acquisition of a new set of norms and values, however, is expected to bring about some modifications in the attitudinal and behavioral patterns of the individual.

With regards to the moderating effect of acculturation on attitudes and behaviors, an appealing hypothesis has been that the attitudinal and behavioral patterns of people in the process of acculturation toward a new environment should be a blend of those of their original culture and those of the new one (Valencia 1985). According to the "monotonic (or linear) progression perspective," Italian-Canadians as they acquire English (French) cultural values and norms, will show consumption and lifestyle patterns more compatible to those of English- (French-) Canadians.

Measurement of Acculturation

In terms of the measurement of acculturation, however, the literature shows a diversity in the current approaches, and there appears to be no standardized method. For instance, some measures are subjective, and rely on the subject's self assessment of the degree of identification with a particular ethnic group, while others are objectively based on one or more of the individual background characteristics such as national origin, religious affiliation, length of residence, and language ability or preference.

One approach which has recently gained a good deal of attention, especially from the researchers in the area of intercultural communication, is that based on the use of communication variables. In the study of consumer behavior, a communication variable based measure of acculturation has been proposed by O'Guinn and Faber (1985). The underlying rationale for this measurement approach is that communication is the most fundamental means by which individuals develop their understanding of a new culture. An elaborate argument in favor of this approach is contained in Kim (1985:379-380):

"Acculturation occurs through the identification and internalization of the significant symbols of the host society. Just as natives acquire their cultural patterns through interaction with their significant others, so do strangers acquire the host cultural patterns and develop relationships with the new cultural environment through communication. . . The acculturation process, therefore, is an interactive and continuous process that evolves in and through the communication of an immigrant with the new sociocultural environment."

Communication, by definition, involves interaction with the environment. As strangers interact with people in the host environment, they learn and acquire some acculturative capacities in their cognitive, affective, and behavioral processes (Tzu 1984). Kim (1977), in her study of Korean immigrants in Chicago, found that the extent of their involvement in interpersonal communication with members of the host culture (i.e., Americans) and the amount of their exposure to the American mass media significantly influenced the development of a refined and realistic perception and understanding of the American society. Similarly, studies by Kapoor and Williams (1979), Pedone (1980), and Wen (1976) demonstrated that the involvement in social communication (inclusive of interpersonal and mass communication) influenced the rate of adaptation to the new environment. On the other hand, intra-ethnic communication (i.e., communication with persons from the same cultural background) was found to have an adverse effect on the ethnic member's integration into the host culture (Shibutani and Kwan 1965). It was also shown that the perceived utility of ethnic media among immigrants decreased as they became more familiar with the host language and culture.

Thus, it appears that sufficient justification can be found for the use of communication patterns as an indicator of one's extent of adaptation to a given dominant culture. Particularly relevant are two forms of communication, i.e., interpersonal and mass communication. A person's interpersonal communication can be observed through the degree of his/her participation in interpersonal relationships with members of the host society (Kim 1985), whereas individuals participate in mass communication processes through such media as radio, television, newspapers, magazines, movies, theater, museums, lectures, and posters, among others (Tzu 1984).

Italian Canadians

There has been little formal research investigating consumption and lifestyle patterns of Italian Canadians visCvis those of English or French Canadians. Such research is well justified given the size and cohesiveness of this market (Kindra et al, 1989:252).

The existing literature, however, delineates some core symbols that set this community apart from other ethnic groups in Canada. These are family, neighborhood, and religious beliefs and practices. Historically, family has been a major institution in the context of Italian culture, such that the worst misfortune that could befall an individual was the loss of his/her family. The term family is not restricted to the nuclear family but is extended to include other relatives and even godparents (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982). Italians rely on their families as a buffer against all external forces. The worst an individual could do was to disgrace the family and bring dishonor to it.

Not surprisingly, children are brought up within the close knit circle of the family and are expected to remain loyal and dependent on parents and siblings. Separation particularly before marriage is not encouraged, and even after marriage, children live either in the same home or in the immediate neighborhood (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982:346). Success in society is measured not in terms of the individual but of the family (Boissevain 1978; Ianni 1977; Rosen 1967).

Further, residential neighborhoods in which they live provide the anchor for the maintenance of their values and behavior, and a secure context within which changes can be made. Once they have settled in a particular neighborhood, Italians do not tend to move. Even second and third generation Italians do not move to new neighborhoods. These ethnic enclaves are not so much a "place" but a context within which adherence to cherished norms, choice of friends and eating appropriate foods are all manifested.

To strengthen ties of sentiment and association, Italian Canadians strongly believe in home and property ownership. It is the cornerstone of Italian notions of stability, respectability and independence (Jansen 1988; Lopreato 1970). Italians take great pride in their homes, and own them rather than rent them. Home is the symbol of the family, and the kitchen table is at its center. Even when they have extravagant homes, the kitchen table around which the family gathers is sacred (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982:343). Education at least to those who did not have much of it is seen as a threat to the sanctity of the home and family loyalty. Mutual support between members of the family is encouraged and work is evaluated in terms of how well one could support the family. Family enterprises are therefore preferred and achievement orientation outside of the family context is not encouraged (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982). Regional differences while not apparent to an outsider are also very significant from a marketing perspective. The three regions from which immigrants come are the north (Roman), the center (Bergamo) and the south (Sicilian). These geographic ties are reinforced through use of dialect, food, and other customs.

Italians are primarily Roman Catholic and believe in the sanctity of the church and priest as symbols of community and tradition. Further, in so far as these institutions help to reinforce values toward home and family they are cherished (Driedger 1978). In addition to other ethnic associations, the church has played an important role in acculturating immigrants to the Canadian milieu (Grygier 1979). Italians particularly love the pageantry and ritual associated with the church and do not view the church as only a source of authority (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982).

Festivals and rituals are celebrated in the context of the family. Food is a central symbol of pleasure derived within the context of the family. Eating is a serious experience, particularly at celebrations such as Christmas. Drinking alcohol is seen only as an accompaniment to food and encouraged primarily in the context of the family (Rotunno and McGoldrick 1982).

METHODOLOGY

Data

Data used in this study came from surveys of residents in various districts of the Greater Montreal area. The first survey was for the collection of French- and English-Canadian data and the second was for Italian-Canadian data. The sampling method for surveying English- and French-Canadian residents involved first randomly drawing fifteen census tracts. As the census tracts were drawn, some judgments were exercised to eliminate those with large concentrations of industrial/commercial activities and/or too large concentrations of other ethnic minorities. Within each of the chosen census tracts, a number of streets were further picked at random and efforts were made to survey as many households on these streets as possible until 500 questionnaires of the two target groups were completed. Interviewers, after the initial introduction, used a filter question to screen out those who identified themselves as belonging to neither group. Those who qualified were asked whether they preferred a French or an English questionnaire. The self-administered questionnaire was either filled out on the spot or left with the consenting individual to be picked up at a later time.

For the survey of Italian Canadians, census tracts with a large concentration of Italian-Canadian population were selected in the first stage. Similarly as before, streets were selected randomly, and efforts were made to contact as many Italian-Canadian households as possible. Interviewers, after the initial introduction, used a filter question to screen out those who did not identify themselves as belonging to the Italian-Canadian community. Those who qualified were asked whether they preferred a French, an English or an Italian questionnaire. The self-administered questionnaire was either filled out on the spot or left with the consenting individual to be picked up at a later time. The number of usable questionnaires collected was 430.

Questionnaire

The questionnaire included, among others 47 lifestyle questions using 10-point Likert scales selected from Wells and Tigert (1971) and Tigert (1973). For the measurement of acculturation of Italian Canadians, the questionnaire contained questions asking respondents to estimate the percentage of times they used Italian, French, and English (adding up to 100) in the following eleven interpersonal and mass-communication contexts:

1. with spouse;

2. with children;

3. with relatives;

4. at work;

5. when watching television;

6. when listening to radio;

7. when reading newspapers;

8. when reading magazines or books;

9. when shopping;

10. with close friends;

11. when in school.

Respondents also provided standard demographic information in the last part of the questionnaire.

ANALYSIS AND RESULTS

Acculturation Pattern of Italian Canadians

The pattern of acculturation for Italian Canadians toward English, French or both of the dominant cultures is investigated by locating various subgroups on a two dimensional acculturation map, the horizontal (x) axis of which represents "the average percentage of times French is used for the eleven communication contexts minus the average percentage of times Italian is used" and the vertical (y) axis of which represents "the average percentage of times English is used minus the average percentage of times Italian is used." Thus, the x axis measures the relative use of French over Italian and the y axis measures the relative use of English over Italian.

However, the first stage of analysis involved the identification of the various groups of Italian Canadians that show sufficient differences in the patterns of their use of the three languages in the eleven communication contexts. This was achieved with the cluster analysis. The variables used in the cluster analysis were the relative percentage of the French Language use to the Italian language use (F-I) and the relative percentage of English language use to the Italian language use (E-I) for each of the eleven contexts. Thus the analysis incorporated 22 variables in total. [In order to include in the analysis those who were single and/or without children, missing values for the percentages of times each language used with spouse and with children were replaced with the respondent's average percentage value computed using the reported percentage figures in the other contexts.]

Using the average linkage clustering method, a series of solutions showing different numbers of partitions were examined. Apparently, there is no one best criterion for determining the number of clusters for any type of cluster analysis (Everitt 1980). Given the purpose of this study, which is to identify the pattern of acculturation for Italian Canadians toward the two dominant cultures, the four-group solution showing sufficient between-group differences both statistically and substantively was chosen for further analyses. [The total number of respondents analyzed in the cluster analysis equalled 395 after deleting those with missing values in the communication contexts other than "with spouse" and "with children."] Univariate analyses of variance comparing the four groups on the 22 input variables showed significant differences in all cases (p<.01).

The labelling of the four groups was done after examining the mean F-I and E-I values of each cluster as well as the average percentages of times each group used Italian, French, and English in the eleven communication contexts. Table 1 contains the latter information which is easier to grasp than the difference values (i.e., E-I and F-I values).

The first group (n=124), accounting for 31.3% of the total sample analyzed, is labelled "Strong Italian Canadians." As can be seen in the table, for most of these respondents, Italian appears to be the only language in which they communicate in the family setting (96% with spouse, 89% with children, 95% with relatives), with their friends (90%), and they are educated in Italian (95% when in school). Their mass media communications tend to be also mostly in Italian. For instance, on more than half of the occasions they watch Italian programs on TV (55%); the radio programs that they listen to tend to be Italian (77%); furthermore, the newspapers and the magazines/books that they read are mostly in Italian (80% and 82% respectively).

Finally, they speak Italian nearly half of the times (45%) at work, which suggests that the majority of them may be employed by businesses owned by Italian Canadians or by businesses whose workforce composition is largely Italian. All of the above observations suggest that these respondents may be either relatively newcomers to the multicultural scene of Canada, thus, they have not had sufficient time to acculturate, or they are lacking in acculturative capacities to fuse into the host society.

The second group of Italian Canadians are best labelled "Tri-cultural Italian Canadians." It is a small group (n=31), accounting for only 7.8% of the total sample. Compared to the other cluster members, these respondents use all three languages throughout the eleven communication situations, though at varying proportions of the times. Their communication within the family setting is largely in Italian (79% with spouse, 55% with children, and 59% with relatives), although English is used considerably in talking to their children (38%). With their friends, Italian is also most often spoken (47%), but English (36% of the times) and French (17%) are used quite often as well. At work and for mass media communication, they use English more so than the other two languages (42% at work, 54% when watching TV, 48% when listening to radio, 52% when reading newspapers, and 53% when reading magazines/books). It should be noted, however, their use of both Italian and French in these contexts is at an appreciable degree. In shopping situations, French is most often used by these respondents (37%), but not by far when compared to the percentage of times English is used (35%). Lastly, on 62% of the occasions when in school, the language of their communication was English (as opposed to 21% for French and 18% for Italian), suggesting that most of them were educated in English. It seems evident as indicated by the overall language use profile that this group has maintained their bequested Italian identity while at the same time blending into both the English and French cultures.

TABLE 1

PERCENTAGES OF TIMES ENGLISH, FRENCH, AND ITALIAN SPOKEN BY CLUSTER

The largest number of respondents are classified into the third cluster (n=221, 56% of the total sample). With the only exception of "with relatives" (where Italian is most often used, 53%), English tends to be the dominant language of communication for these Italian Canadians. A closer look at the percentage figures does indicate, however, that Italian is still used to a notable extent within their families (26% with spouse and 33% with children). Further to be noted is that their average percentages of times French is used at work (34%) and when shopping (37%) are at levels similar to those for the previous two groups. These results are rather expected since the work and commercial environments of the region require a certain degree of the French language use for interpersonal interaction and transaction. Given these language use patterns, this group is named "Italian-English Canadians."

The final group in the analysis is the smallest in size (n=19), and accounts for 4.8% of the total respondents. It distinguishes itself from the others by their relatively high levels of the French language use in the majority of the communication contexts. As shown in the table, French is the most widely used language in settings of work (51%), when watching TV (46%), when listening to radio (55%), when reading books/magazines (46%), and finally when shopping (66%). It is interesting to observe that these Italian Canadians at the same time show a strong Italian orientation in their within-family communications (97% of the times in Italian with spouse, 95% with children, and 88% with relatives). Italian is also by far the most often used language in interactions with friends (89%), and it is the language in which they were educated (97%). These observations suggest that this small group of Italian Canadians are likely to be first generation immigrants who show acculturative tendencies toward the French-Canadian culture. Given the features just described, an appropriate label for this group is "Italian-French Canadians."

In order to obtain a clearer picture of the acculturation pattern for the Italians in the study, the average F-I and E-I percentage values were computed for all of the eleven communication contexts for each of the four clusters identified. The centroids of the four clusters are then located in the F-I (x axis) and E-I (y axis) map in Figure 1. This figure also presents the "cultural triangle" of the study: the points of the triangle are the fully unicultural groups. By using equidistant measures, one may divide the triangle into zones where the mostly unicultural, mostly bicultural, and tricultural individuals or groups would be located. The boundaries of these areas are indicated with broken lines.

As can be seen, the centroid of Italian-English Canadian group is located near the top (-0.5 and 58 on the x axis and y axis respectively). The tri-cultural group is located closely to the origins of the two axes (-19.4 and 2.9), below which lies the centroid of Italian-French Canadians (-28.2 and -42.4). The centroid of the Strong Italian Canadian group (-63.8 and -68.8) is further below and to the left of the Italian-French group's centroid.

These results of the cluster analysis give some important clues as to the general pattern of acculturation that Italian Canadians undergo in the mainly bi-cultural environment of Quebec. Between the two dominant cultures coexisting in the region, the direction of acculturation of the Italian-Canadian community has been toward the English-Canadian side. As can be seen in the above map (Figure 1), all four clusters are located on the left side of the x axis with a good spread across the y axis, indicating a considerably smaller movement toward the French culture. It can be also inferred from the comparison of the size of Italian-English Canadians to that of Italian-French Canadians. The ratio was higher than ten to one.

FIGURE 1

CENTROIDS OF THE FOUR CLUSTERS

It was also observed that the Italians acculturating towards the English-Canadian culture tend to show a high level of assimilation. As is seen in Table 1, the percentages of English used by these respondents in the various communication contexts were disproportionately high compared to those of Italian used. By contrast, Italians acculturating towards mainly French culture do seem to maintain strongly their inherited identity as reflected in their high level of use of the Italian language in the family context and with friends.

The analysis also revealed a group of Italian-Canadians who appear to be acculturating toward both the English- and French-Canadian cultures while still maintaining a strong Italian orientation in most of the communication contexts examined in this study. As in the case of Italian-French Canadians, this group accounts for a small fraction of the total sample. Overall, it appears evident that the general acculturation pattern for Italian Canadians has been guided by English cultural forces.

Demographic Features

A series of chi-square tests were performed to see if the four groups differed in demographic features. A significant result was found for age, income, and education (p<0.05). Regarding age, Italian-English Canadians and Tri-cultural Canadians are significantly younger than Strong-Italian Canadians or Italian-French Canadians. Forty one percent and 23 percent of the first two groups respectively are less than 30 years of age as opposed 2% and 0% for the latter two groups respectively. Although not as pronounced as this observation, a similar pattern is found for the age category of 50 and older. Five percent and 13 percent of the first two groups belong to this category, compared to 60 percent and 53 percent for the latter two groups respectively.

With regards to income and education differences among the four groups, patterns are highly similar. Significantly greater percentages of the members of the first groups are in the upper brackets of income and education compared to those of the latter two groups. These observations suggest that the majority of respondents who have achieved a high level of acculturation toward English culture and those who have acculturated toward French and English cultures simultaneously are likely to be the second or further generation Italians, whereas members of the other two groups are likely to be first generation immigrants.

Lifestyle Patterns

The next stage of analysis investigated the effect of acculturation on the lifestyle patterns of the Italian Canadians. This investigation involved performing two sets of analyses of covariance (ANCOVAs) (using age, income, and education as covariates) on fourteen lifestyle factors obtained for the 47 lifestyle statements.

The first set of ANCOVAs compared lifestyle patterns of Strong-Italian Canadians, Italian-English Canadians, and English Canadians. These ANCOVAs test the effect on lifestyles of acculturation toward the English culture. English-Canadian respondents (surveyed at a prior time) are included in the analysis to provide another reference point in determining the significance of cultural influences as well as the existence of a monotonic trend for the various lifestyle factors. The tri-cultural group is excluded in this analysis because their position relative to the other groups with respect to the acquired level of acculturation towards the English-Canadian culture is ambiguous. Furthermore, their acculturation towards the French-Canadian culture is likely to confound the effect of English cultural influences on their lifestyle patterns.

The second set of ANCOVAs examines the effect of French-Canadian cultural influences on the lifestyle patterns of the Italians. The groups compared are Strong-Italian Canadians, Italian-French Canadians, and French Canadians (surveyed at a prior time). As before, the tri-cultural group is excluded from the analysis for the same reasons as before. The results of the ANCOVAs testing English-Canadian cultural influences on lifestyles are contained in Table 2. The results of the ANCOVAs testing French-Canadian cultural influences on lifestyles are presented in Table 3. The group mean values for lifestyle factors are unweighted averages of the scores on the items belong to their respective factors. [These factors have been identified in Hui et al (1992), and they have been shown to have the same structure for the three groups of interest in this study.] The factor scores have been adjusted for the effects of the three covariates in the analysis.

Table 2 shows that, among the 14 lifestyle factors, a significant difference was found for 12 factors (p<0.05). Thus, differences in lifestyle patterns among the Strong Italian group, the Italian-English group, and the English groups are pervasive, even after removing the effects of age, income and education. For these significant lifestyle factors, a monotonic trend was checked by comparing the magnitudes of the mean values of the three groups.

Either an increasing or decreasing trend in group means was found for 9 of the 12 significant factors, largely confirming the hypothesis of monotonic progression regarding the effect of acculturation on lifestyles. More specifically, it was found that as they are more acculturated toward the English culture, the Italian Canadians tend to show less concern for children, less self-confidence, greater price consciousness, less interest in cooking and baking, greater dislike of housework, less dislike of credit use, are less likely to be opinion leaders, less likely to be innovative, and finally, they tend to develop greater liking for canned foods.

Table 3 shows the ANCOVA results testing the French cultural influences on lifestyles. A significant difference among the groups of Strong Italians, Italian-French, and French Canadians was found for 8 of the 14 factors (p<0.05), again indicating pervasive cultural influences on lifestyles. An examination of the pattern of mean values for these factors, however, do not show the kind of support for the hypothesized trend that was obtained in the previous case. A monotonic trend is found only for three of the eight significant factors. As they become more acculturated toward the French culture, Italian Canadians tends to be less interested in cooking and baking, more fashion conscious, and more health conscious. This rather weak support for the monotonic progression hypothesis obtained in this case may be attributed to the earlier observation that the Italian-French Canadian group consists of a small number of respondents who are likely to be first generation immigrants to Canada. Their duration of residence in Canada may not have been long enough for them to experience significant adjustments in their attitudinal and behavioral patterns. The fact that the majority of them are in the age bracket of 50 or older provides another plausible explanation for their lack of progression towards the French-Canadian lifestyle patterns.

CONCLUSION

The focus of this study was on the investigation of the patterns of acculturation and its impact on lifestyles for a minority subculture, Italian Canadians, in the mainly bi-cultural environment of Quebec where English and French coexist as two dominant cultures. The existing literature on acculturation takes a bi-cultural framework in examining cultural influences and adjustments taking place between cultures in contact. In recognizing the uniqueness of the cultural environment of Quebec where there are two dominant cultures, a tri-cultural framework was used in this study to examine the acculturation pattern of a minority culture, Italian Canadians. Results of this study showed, however, that the acculturation pattern of Italian Canadians is guided mainly by English-Canadian cultural forces.

Findings confirmed strong cultural influences on lifestyles in general, as indicated by significant between-group differences obtained for many of the lifestyle factors analyzed. There was also encouraging evidence for the monotonic progression hypothesis in the case of the Italians acculturating toward the English culture. The analysis revealed that only a small number of Italian Canadians have been acculturating toward French culture. The small size of Italian-French Canadians prevented a more rigorous test of the monotonic progression hypothesis.

A logical extension of this study is to investigate the attitudinal and behavioral adjustment process of other minority cultures (e.g., Greeks or Chinese) in the region. While there is a great deal of evidence that consumption and lifestyles are significantly affected by cultural adaptation, there is little known about the pattern through which the effects can be anticipated.

TABLE 2

RESULTS OF ANCOVAS TESTING OF ENGLISH CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON LIFESTYLE FACTORS

TABLE 3

RESULTS OF ANCOVAS TESTING OF FRENCH CULTURAL INFLUENCES ON LIFESTYLE FACTORS

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----------------------------------------

Authors

Michel Laroche, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Chankon Kim, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Michael Hui, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada
Annamma Joy, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada,



Volume

E - European Advances in Consumer Research Volume 1 | 1993



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