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Long before efforts toward racial and cultural integration in the United States arose, the common process was assimilation. In 1954, Milton Gordon's book Assimilation in American Life outlined seven stages of the assimilative process, setting the stage for literature on this topic. Later, Young Yun Kim authored a reiteration of Gordon's work, but argued cross-cultural adaptation as a multi-staged process. Kim's theory focused on the unitary nature of psychological and social processes and the reciprocal functional personal environment interdependence. Although this view was the earliest to fuse micro-psychological and macro-social factors into an integrated theory, it is clearly focused on assimilation rather than racial or ethnic integration. In Kim's approach, assimilation is unilinear and the sojourner must conform to the majority group culture in order to be "communicatively competent. " According to Gudykunst and Kim (2003) the "cross-cultural adaptation process involves a continuous interplay of deculturation and acculturation that brings about change in strangers in the direction of assimilation, the highest degree of adaptation theoretically conceivable. " This view has been heavily criticized, since the biological science definition of adaptation refers to the random mutation of new forms of life, not the convergence of a monoculture (Kramer, 2003).

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