Pursuit of Happiness
Culture is usually defined by social roles, normal values, and practices of a social group or society and done for generations. It is normal to see cultural differences in groups small or large. You can find similarities in national heritage, language, religion, ethnicity, race, age, gender, location throughout history. These along with many other factors make up the cultural differences among nations. In each nation some of the same factors create cultures within cultures. Culture influence our goals and values, also what we see as desirable and undesirable shaping the idea of what is happiness and how to get it.
However, it does not mean the culture molds life like a cookie cutter, creating the same type of person. In today’s society culture has a less effect on people as it once did, due to people combining cultural influences. For example, some African American people taking on Arab-American tradition and cultural beliefs but still use some African American cultures. Most of the cross-cultural is of well-being is centered on self. The self- concept is shaped by our own experiences and normally influenced by of culture.
Some cultures can be determined by the value placed on individualism or collectivism. Individualistic cultures like the industrialized countries of North America, Western Europe and countries emulating the Western cultural views. These countries are more likely to emphasis individual rights, responsibilities and freedom. These cultures are value self-reliance, independence, self direction, free choice and assertiveness. According to (Markus & Kitayama, 1991; Triandis. 1989) Western Culture reflects views of self independently and distinct from others. It is defined by a unique combination of qualities and abilities.
Collectivist culture includes countries of East Asia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. These societies emphasize an interdependent view of self, which personal identity is defined relationally based on connections with others. Collectivist cultures place a premium on social responsibility, fulfillment of social roles, cooperation with other, and maintaining social harmony. These individuals are defined as part of a large social network, rather than a unique separate entity. Individualist-collectivist difference in terms of the relative emphasis each type of culture places on a personal or social identity (Tajfel, 1982). Person identity refers to that self-description that makes a person different from others. Like, social identity refers to self as our membership in, connection to groups and social categories.
Americans, the self is seen in abstract terms and relatively independent and takes the self wherever we go. We believe in an independent self, where Asians believe in an interdependent self. Asians believe it is more intertwined with relationships and social contexts. It is also the meaning and expression of personal attributes tied to people and situations. In a (Cousins, 1989) study Japanese individuals gave more abstract answer than the Americans answering the same question. Americans tend to try to qualify answers with justifying statements, giving the appearance of the real self.
Americans have a greater need for self-consistency in situations, quite comfortable with describing themselves with no context. Asians appear to be more comfortable with internal trait self –description. However, the context is specified because it fits their interdependent view of self. Asians are more flexible and have a context-dependent self while being less concerned about being consistent across the situations (Suh 2000). Individualist-versus-collectivist views of self, is painted with a broad brush. The two models of self appear to capture important difference in the individual and social lives of people living individualistic and collectivist cultures.
The individualistic and collectivist (I-C) concepts of self provide