Introduction                                                                               Page : 1

  arrow1.gif (1751 bytes)
Dr. Jatin
Mipun's

T
h
e

M
i
s
h
i
n
g
s

o
f

A
s
s
a
m


Dr. Jatin
Mipun's

T
h
e

M
i
s
h
i
n
g
s

o
f

A
s
s
a
m


               The Mishings are an Indo-Mongoloid tribe settled in the plains of Assam. Originally, they were hill dwellers and lived along with the Adis in Arunachal Pradsesh. On the basis of the legends of the tribe and available historical records, they moved to the plains of Assam, around the 13th century A.D. Still, they retain their mythological, linguistic and institutional affinity with the Adis and the Nisis of Arunachal Pradesh. After their migration to the plains, considerable changes have taken place in their ecology, pattern of adaptation, cultivation, language, rituals, dress and house construction. The residence in the plains has offered them a better system of communication. The present dissertation is an attempt in understanding the process of acculturation, communication and development among the Mishings of Assam.

            In the social sciences, the concept of 'acculturation' gained currency during the late nineteenth century. For the first time, Powell (1880) wrote of the 'force of acculturation' which was about 'changing indigenous traditions under the influence of civilized people'. McGee (1898) discusses later on about 'piratical acculturation' by which he meant 'cultural interchange under advantageous condition.' In the writings of the earlier twentieth century, the term was often employed interchangeably with diffusion and assimilation. In the British studies, it was used in terms of 'culture contact'. Though various studies have already been conducted on culture contact and social change, only in the early part of the twentieth century, Redfield, Linton and Herskovitz (1936) attempted to draw for the first time a systematic definition of the concept. According to them -

             Acculturation includes those phenomena which result when groups of individuals   having different cultures come into continuous first hand contact, with subsequent  change in the original cultural patterns of either or both groups (1936 : 149).

In spite of much criticism, the definition formulated by them has been able to pave the way for the future study of acculturation in different societies. In the middle part of the twentieth century, Herskovitz (1955 : 472) stressed on acculturation as the 'study of culture transmission in process' and tried to assess the levels of material cultures of different societies. Murdock (1955 : 3) has defined the term as the 'assumption of culture through contact', especially with the people of higher civilization'. Spindler (1955 : 3-4) expands the definition of the term as the total adaptive process that occurs in cultural patterning and value system, group alignments, systems of control, social organization, and economy and in the  psychological structures and functions of individuals, as adoptions are made to the  changing conditions of existence created by the impact of populations and their cultures upon each other.

Having lots of criticisms and modifications of the definition of the term, social scientists have, however, accepted acculturation as an important aspect of the study of social change which


HOME

BACK NEXT

Designed & Maintained by Gemini DotCom Pvt. Ltd.