Individualism and Collectivism
In the diverse world in which we live, each country has its own identity and culture. In fact, a culture has its own languages, traditions, customs and social particularities. We can therefore assume that the relationships between individuals change from culture to culture because of cultural distinctions such as impressionism and individualism. Indeed, in a collectivist culture, individuals see themselves as a part of a group, while in an individualist culture individuals are independents from the community. Therefore explaining the differences between a collectivist and an individualist culture with the examples of the United States and the Ivory Coast can help any sociology class student to understand how individuals interact with the society depending on the culture.
Obviously, a collectivist culture differ from an individualist culture in terms of moralities. In The Ivory Coast for example, unity and selflessness prevail. In other words, individuals have a deep feeling to belong to a group, and share the same norms and values with the group to which they belong. Marcia Finkelstein in her study “Individualism/Collectivism and Organizational Citizenship Behavior: an Integrative Framework’’ reports that “collectivists define themselves in relation to the group’’(1635). Instead, in The United States, individuals are independents and rely on themselves. In the same study, Maria Finkelstein notes that “Fundamental to the individualist perspective is a focus on autonomy, independence and self’’ (Oyserman, & Kemmelmeier, qtd. in Finkelsein 1635). Clearly, individuals are expected to be autonomous, and to stand on their own. As a result, the public spirit of the collectivist culture contrasts the s...
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... most teenagers tend to look for a job and a place to live on their own. The strong family bond in a collectivist culture is not as strong as the one that we can find between members of a family in an individualist culture because individuals in each culture have a specific way to interact and behave in their personal lives
To sum up, an individualist and a collectivist culture are different in terms of rights, life goals in the work environment, moralities, and personal life. The examples of he Ivory Coast and the United States illustrate these differences, and help to understand how individuals interact with the society. However, it would be more appropriate to say that not all cultures are purely collectivist or individualism. Sometimes, individual can decide to either act as an individualistic or as a collectivist depending on the situation and circumstances.
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