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Cultural Identity: The Elements
At the beginning we must have a clarification over terms similar to tradition, identity and cultural identity which leads us to the American cultural identity and its elements. Tradition is a very difficult term to define. "It has more than a hundred definitions." (1) To present a easy definition and no to confused with the hundred of the definitions we are able to define culture as follows: culture refers to the customs, practices, languages, values and world views that define social teams resembling these based mostly on nationwideity, ethnicity, region or common interests.
Identity is another time period we must know about before understanding cultural identity. "The condition or character as to who a person or what a thing is."(2) The very best way to define the time period identity is a solution to the question who am I? We are able to say that identity is about our self-notion and notion of others. There are totally different types of identity in response to completely different ways of categorizing of aspects. Personal identity, social identity and collective identity are the most recognizable ones. "The idea of a collective identity refers to a set of people' sense of belonging to the group or collective. For the person, the identity derived from the collective shapes a part of his or her personal identity." (3) The master forces of collective identity are nationwideity, ethnicity, faith, gender, profession and decadent culture.
Cultural identity is the identity of a gaggle, tradition or of a person as far as one is influenced by one's belonging to a group or culture. Then cultural identity is a collective identity.
The American cultural identity will be merely defined because the sets of values, norms and beliefs that make the American individuals as the Americans. Collective identity is not in conflict with personal identity as each American has its own identity while the entire People has a specific collective identity by which they are distinguished from the British people.
Talking concerning the parts of the American cultural identity is tough, because there are a lot of components that form it. To depend a few of the most important components I go for the next ones.
English language is one of the elements that in my view have shaped the American cultural identity. It offers the People a sense of having a British origin and a feeling that the language their ancestors spoke was English like them and I think it makes them think of their Anglo-Saxon background. English language as the keyity of the People speak has had an amazing affect on shaping their collective identity.
The idea of egalitarianism or having equal opportunities makes the second factor of the American cultural identity. This sense that we all are living in a land of opportunities, while others do not and we all are equal to have opportunities to live has integrated Americans as a whole.
• Exceptionalism and Nationalism
The idea of exceptionalism has instilled in People mind by way of the history and in consequence it has made them think that they are distinctive and particular people residing in a land of opportunities. They consider in American Dream and they think that they've had this likelihood to live on this land not some other people. People believe that they and only they are exceptional and this thought gives them a sense of nationalistic point of view. Being patriot is a quite common symbol of being an American and it has a lot to do with exceptionalism and nationalism. For example, US flag is considered a nationwide symbol and an emblem that integrates all Americans to a whole.
Liberalism is undoubtedly probably the most influential aspect of American cultural identity. The concept of liberalism in America is as old because the United States where in accordance the US Constitution the individuals are free to work, worship, live, journey and so on so forth as long as they respect each others' rights. Liberalism limits the affect the federal government has on the personal lives of the citizens as well. When individuals see that they are free to decide on no matter they want under the liberalism umbrella, then they really feel they are People they usually acknowledge themselves as Americans.
Individualism has had a terrific impact on being an American. It has a Puritan background. Individualism has helped the creation of property ownership and what's called privacy. Ownership in America is of great significance and it offers the owner a sense by which he/she feels American because they consider it a result of dwelling in America and believing in American beliefs. Individualism will not be only about financial terms like property ownership. When it comes to tradition, cultural individualism is the concept that the entire Americans see themselves as an individual from which the thought of Americanism comes from.
Pragmatism, like individualism, has a Puritan origin. Individuals work very hard to achieve their goals. The question "What do you do?" is a quite common question in American culture. It signifies that hard-working is a very important factor amongst Americans. Americans work very hard and they always think in regards to the results undermining the instruments by which they can achieve the ends. In accordance with the American multicultural context, pragmatist ideas which refuses any absolutes became very common because "quite than believing in absolutes it is believed that these ideas are changeable and depend upon the context in which they are being discussed." (four)
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