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NIGERIAN IGBO COUPLES IN THE UNITED STATES. ACCULTURATION CHANGES, PROBLEMS AND SOLUTIONS PRESENTED BY REV. MSGR. ANSELM NWAORGU, Ph.D. AT THE 8 TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF ICCUSA SACRAMENTO, CALIFONIA. ACCULTURATION.

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NIGERIAN IGBO COUPLES IN THE UNITED STATES

ACCULTURATION CHANGES, PROBLEMS

AND SOLUTIONS

PRESENTED BY

REV. MSGR. ANSELM NWAORGU, Ph.D.

AT THE 8TH ANNUAL CONVENTION OF ICCUSA

SACRAMENTO, CALIFONIA


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ACCULTURATION

  • GROUP LEVEL PHENOMENA --Culture change resulting from contact between two autonomous cultures. Greater changes occurring in the non-dominant culture

  • INDIVIDUAL LEVEL PHENOMENA--Psychological acculturation—changes in values, attitudes, lifestyle preferences, abilities and motives due to values in the acculturative arena.

    Moderated by the gain or loss of prerogatives.


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NIGERIAN IGBO COUPLES IN NIGERIACULTURAL VALUES

  • Community oriented based on Extended family

  • High degree of social stratification

  • Unequal gender hierarchies

  • Male dominance in decision making

  • Patriarchal, patrilineal, patrilocal.

  • Marriage, a covenant between two extended families, kindred, village.

  • Sanctity of marriage unquestioned

  • Divorce is frowned upon, shame factors attached especially for the female.

  • Less attractive alternatives

  • Divorce court lean more toward resolution of marriage

  • Conservative church strict with annulments.

    High Marital constraint, less attractive alternatives – Positively related to high marital stability


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NIGERIAN IGBO COUPLES IN THE UNITED STATESDOMINANT CULTURAL VALUES

  • Emphasis on individualism

  • Self-assertion as opposed to submission

  • Increased independence and autonomy

  • More financial independence to women

  • A more liberal judicial system relative to divorce

  • A more permissive church relative to annulments

  • Societal deproblematization of divorce.

  • Dissociation of marriage from child bearing

  • Dissociation of couplehood from parenting – single parenthood recognized as an institutionalized form.

  • Change in the balance of authority from system of command to system of negotiation.

  • Greater desire to engage in professional carriers

  • Challenge to patriarchal prerogatives


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NIGERIAN IGBO COUPLES IN THE UNITED STATESDOMINANT CULTURAL VALUES Cont.

  • Gender equality and egalitarian gender roles

  • More democratic partner relationship and family configuration

  • Higher educational rewards—Women may earn more money than their husbands

  • Availability of alternative lifestyles.

  • Absence of extended kin


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AREAS OF CROSS CULTURAL CONFLICTLOSS OF PREROGATIVES VS REWARDS

  • The emphasis on individualism and self-assertion versus communitarianism and submission

  • The open job market in the United States which offers immigrant females more opportunity for financial independence and which frees them from economic dependence on males

  • The judicial system in the United States which is much more disposed toward granting divorce to a couple with the woman much more likely to gain custody of her children

  • The equality of gender roles espoused by United States society which challenges the prerogatives of patriarchy


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ACCULTURATION THEORY

  • Acculturation is moderated by the degree of benefit experienced in the original culture versus loss or gain of benefits in the new culture

  • If there is loss in benefits, there is greater resistance to acculturation

  • If there are gains in benefits in the new culture, there is the tendency to acculturate faster.

  • Couples may therefore acculturate at different rates depending on the gain or loss of benefit in the new culture leading to differential adjustment.

  • Differential adjustment to cultural change leads to high marital distress.


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ACCULTURATION THEORY APPLIED TO IGBO COUPLES IN THE U.S.

  • Men are much more likely to resist acculturation because of loss of patriarchal benefits while women are much more likely to acculturate faster because of increased benefits in the new culture

  • Igbo men and women are likely to experience differential adjustment when it comes to gender roles due to increased financial power of women, emphasis on gender equality, self assertion, changes in decision making process, work schedule, etc.

  • Igbo women tend to subscribe to more egalitarian roles while Igbo men tend to hold on as much as they can to traditional gender roles.

  • Reduced marital constraints and increased attractive alternatives.

  • Disposition to marital distress is high.


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OTHER ACCULTURTION ISSUESChanges in social-kin network

The effectiveness of any social structure in enforcing its values depends on a number of variables.

  • The number of persons in the network systems,

  • Its distribution (how many in which circle and sector),

  • Density (connectedness among members),

  • The network’s sociocultural and demographic homogeneity and heterogeneity

  • Dispersion (geographic distance among members).

    If these are absent or minimal, individual decisions will dominate


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  • Changes in the Emotional Support System—concentration is on the couple as opposed to the group

  • Custody Issues—the question of who takes care of children. Women more likely to stay if leaving means loss of their children and more likely to leave if they will take custody of their children.

  • Divorce—the Nature of Marital Commitment


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THE NATURE OF MARITAL COMMITMENT on the couple as opposed to the group

PERSONAL DEDICATION

  • The intention to maintain marital relations due to satisfaction or attachment to ones spouse.--(Mitigated by availability of better or more favorable alternatives to present relationship.

    CONSTRAINT

  • Structures that constrain individuals to maintain relationships regardless of their personal dedication to it. E.g. remain married to avoid consequences of marital dissolution, disapproval of family and friends, the expense of termination procedure, concern for children, low alternative quality. These makes marital dissolution more economically, socially, personally, and psychologically costly?


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Decreased Barriers and increased alternatives = Lower Commitment.

  • Once barriers to divorce are overcome in a psychological sense

  • A viable alternative to the relationship exists.

  • Goodness of marital outcomes is reassessed.

    Consequences:

  • devaluation of marital rewards relative to the cost of staying in it.

  • “The higher the comparison level of alternatives and the lower the goodness of marital outcome, the lower the level of commitment to the marriage”

  • Divorce Increase > with reduced barriers and increased alternatives


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SOLUTIONS Commitment.

  • Consultative Communication

  • Sound Financial Decision Relative To Individual Expenses Vs Family Expenses

  • Appreciation And Commendations

  • Feed the Marriage By Keeping Friendship And Love Issues Alive

  • Forgive

  • Drop The Dream Undertakers

  • It is not about work; it is about life


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MAY THE GOOD LORD Commitment.KEEP YOUR MARRIAGES ALIVE AND WELL ALL THE YERS OF YOUR LIVES. AMEN