Is Culture More Important Than the Individual?

Only available on StudyMode
  • Download(s) : 750
  • Published : June 24, 2008
Open Document
Text Preview
Discuss the proposition that culture is more important than the individual.

Many cultures have different ways on how they view the group versus the individual. This depends on whether it is an individualist culture or a collectivist culture. An individualist culture is one I which people tend to view themselves as individuals and to emphasize the needs of individuals. Western culture tends to be individualist. A collectivist culture is one in which people tend to view themselves as members of groups (families, tribes, nations), and usually consider the needs of the group to be more important than the needs of individuals.

Most Asian cultures, including Japan’s, tend to be collectivist. Japan’s culture easily comes to mind when thinking of the concept of whether culture is more important than the individual. Japan which is a largely atheistic society, believes the group is more important than the individual.

In Japanese culture, society exists to serve the individual and the individual is taught to serve society. This came about because Japan was a rural culture centered about small villages, where privacy was not possible. This commitment to service has survived Japan's conversion to an urban culture because of the social aspects the Japanese use to control their society that include intense private criticism, and a restrained public humiliation.

While the family is considered important “making decisions for the collective group, or the entire family, is more important than making individual decisions. Important decisions are made to include all the family members, nuclear, immediate and extended”. (DiStefano)

Public status is valued by the Japanese and is measured by the stature of their school, profession, or business. Their place in society is determined by the groups or institutions to which they belong. While individual achievement is important it does not play a large role in determining status in society.

In Japan, it is the group...
tracking img