Lesson 2: Topic 8 of 19
The Individualist-Collectivist divide shouldn’t be seen as a strict either/or dichotomy. Instead, imagine a continuum, like a number line, with various national cultures on it. Some Individualist cultures are actually extreme Individualists (such as Australia and the United States), where autonomy and self-actualization are highly prized. In these societies, individual freedoms are viewed as worth fighting for. The idea is sometimes expressed as “No one can tell me what to do.”
If you were born in the U.S. within a family from elsewhere, you likely know quite a bit about Individualism, even if your family maintains a Collectivistic worldview. Second generation immigrants are familiar with this tension. Anthropologists have long noted the tendency of children to gauge “fairness” in their own families by what happens with their peers.
Israel, India, and Spain are a few of the nations in the mid-range, but this is actually more complex than for countries situated squarely at either end of the continuum!
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