research on individualism

Topics: United States, Individualism, Barack Obama Pages: 8 (2937 words) Published: February 7, 2014
YiQing Ruan
Socy 201

The Negativity of Excessive Emphasized Individualism In America

Individualism is an ideal that most people have aspired to in America. The word itself has a very positive meaning in American cultures. Individualism is something that defines the United States; it is something that makes the United States unique compared to other countries; It is something positive, something good, something most people would want to obtain. Most Americans tend to over encourage the value of individuality. However, over emphasis and encouragement of individualism could lead to many deviant behaviors. That could eventually cause problems in the function and growth of the society.

What is individualism?
Using the dictionary definition, Individuality is distinctive or unique character or personality. In sociology , Individualism is a social psychological term that refers to the ways in which people identify themselves and focus their goals and gives priority to personal goals (as opposed to the goals of a group or society) (10) . In addition, individualists tend to define their own identities according to their own personal behaviors and attributes. According to Craig Biddle, author of Individualism vs. Collectivism: Our Future, Our Choice, “just like most people in western Europe countries, Americans are typical examples of the term individualism.” The United States is well known for its individualism around the world.

Why is America cultural focused on individualism? Mainly because individualism plays a huge part in the history of the U.S. When the colonies were sent from Britain to this unknown land, they were treated with little to no respect; instead of heroes that discovered new land, they were more like guinea pigs, to test and die for the royals. As American fought for their rights and independence, the idea of making yourself free of controls and being able to do whatever you want without other people suppressing you became the most important cultural value to America. Even though these values might have changed throughout history, but the main idea is still remaining the same. That is the reason why phrases like “It’s a free country…” ,“I have the right!” are most used among Americans.

Individualism of Americans means the freedom to “choose my own way,” make my own decisions, and this is deeply rooted in the American society. Individualism was greatly encouraged amongst Americans, especially their kids. You can easily see individualism in American society in advertising, Billboards and TV commercials are directed at individuals who can decide whether to buy a product or not. There is no advertisement that says, “Ask your parents whether you can have….” Many kids were taught the value of individualism from the start both consciously and unconsciously. Many kids in their early age are encouraged to develop the sense of individual identity, responsibility and achievement. Such as feeding themselves, cleaning their own bedroom and managing their own hygiene.

Effects of individualism (macro)
According to John Renesche, “While this individualism has been key for much of our entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity, few have looked for a potential downside to this Yankee personality trait.”(2) Even though individualism gives positive traits , but there is always a darker side, and most people tend to overlook that. In a country like the United States, where individualism is hugely emphasized, which makes the negativity also will become more obvious.

Individualism has a huge impact on the macro level within the society. According to Claire Andre and Manuel Velasquez,
“Faced with growing homelessness, rising unemployment, crumbling highways, and impending ecological disaster, our response is one of apathy, frustration, cynicism, and retreat into our private worlds. The social problems confronting us today, the authors argue, are largely the result of failures of...
Continue Reading

Please join StudyMode to read the full document

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • research Essay
  • research Research Paper
  • Essay about Research
  • research Essay
  • Research Essay
  • research Essay
  • Essay about Individualism
  • Individualism Essay

Become a StudyMode Member

Sign Up - It's Free