How Collectivism Would Affect Our Lives

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The way a person perceives her/himself in relation to the surrounding human environment affects one’s emotional world. Collectivistic cultures emphasize the fundamental relatedness of individuals to each other; they tend to value attending to others, fitting in, and harmonious interdependence with them. Thus the self in collectivistic cultures is interdependent, and the individual is focused predominantly on his or her relationship with ingroup members or with the ingroup as a whole. In collectivistic cultures, emotions are experienced out of relationships. They reflect the outer, rather than the inner world and are therefore taken as objective: it is assumed that all people experience the same emotion in a given social situation.

In collectivistic cultures such as China, the rules regarding emotions are rather loose: there are no strict expectations about how one should generally feel. However, the display rules are much tighter: there are certain expectations about the way one should show one's feelings in a given context. Culture affects the subjective well being. Well being includes both general life satisfaction and the relative balance of positive affect verses negative effect in daily life. Culture directs the attention to different sources of information for making the life satisfaction judgments, thus affecting subjective well being appraisal.

A central theme of collectivism as a cultural syndrome is that relationships with relevant others and group memberships constitute the primary unit of society, the foundation of self-concept, and the key values that should govern one's life. Social units that share a common fate are centrally important from a collectivistic world-view. Within a collectivistic perspective, individuals can only be understood within the context of the groups they belong to and in terms of their connections with particular others. Group memberships are assumed to be stable, impermeable, and central to self-concept. Fulfilling...
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