Individualism, Collectivism And Cultural Analysis

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Diener argues that the study of subjective well-being is, in fact, subjective due to the fact that its evaluation is based on the subjective experiences of people (Diener and Suh, 1997, p. 191). What creates these subjective evaluations can often be attributed—among many other factors—to cultural dynamics that derive from the differences in their value systems. In order to fully understand any subject under the topic of happiness, well-being or life-satisfaction, one primarily needs to understand the value systems in place that differ cultural groups in that aspect. Despite the fact that there has been numerous ways to evaluate the cultural influence on people, “the framework of individualism and collectivism has been used as most frequently: …show more content…
While in some cultures, individuals live with their core family members, in some cultures, family implies the extended family members such as the grandparents. Thus, a “general aspect of how humans live concerns the manner in which they aggregate into collectives” (Earley, 1998, p.266). Despite the fact that cultural groups may differ in various dimensions, the way the members of the group relate to each other remains crucial to evaluate given that the individuals’ relatedness to their group determines whether the particular cultural group has more collectivistic or individualistic …show more content…
Despite the apparent differences in the way self is viewed in either of the cultural orientations, there exist similarities between their value systems. In a study conducted by Oyserman in 2002, Americans who are historically categorized as individualistic showed no less collectivism when given a task compared to their East Asian counterparts. Just like it would be expected from a group that is more collectivism oriented, Americans demonstrate a desire to belong to an in-group and seek approval and advice from others. Where they differed, however, is in the lack of emphasis Americans put on group harmony and prioritization of the goals that are associated not with an individual but with a group. On the other hand, East Asians do score higher in collectivism compared to Americans, showing the point that Americans are not solely individualistic and can have collectivistic values in certain areas but are still less collectivistic than East Asians (Brewer, 2007, p.136) This nuance in the way different cultures swing between the spectrum of individualism and collectivism is in the heart of understanding why there exist different beliefs about

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