Firstly we should have a clarification over phrases equivalent to culture, identity and cultural identity which leads us to the American cultural identity and its elements. Culture is a really difficult term to define. “It has more than a hundred definitions.” (1) To offer a simple definition and no to confused with the hundred of the definitions we can define tradition as follows: culture refers back to the customs, practices, languages, values and world views that define social groups comparable to these based on nationwideity, ethnicity, region or frequent interests.
Identity is another term we should know about before understanding cultural identity. “The condition or character as to who an individual or what a thing is.”(2) The very best way to define the time period identity is an answer to the question who am I? We can say that identity is about our self-notion and perception of others. There are completely different types of identity in accordance with 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 individuals’ sense of belonging to the group or collective. For the individual, the identity derived from the collective shapes a part of his or her personal identity.” (three) The master forces of collective identity are nationwideity, ethnicity, religion, 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 might be simply defined as the sets of values, norms and beliefs that make the American individuals as the Americans. Collective identity shouldn’t be in battle with personal identity as each American has its own identity while the entire People has a particular 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 various elements that shape it. To depend some of the most essential parts I go for the following ones.
English language is without doubt one of the components that in my opinion have formed the American cultural identity. It provides the Americans 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 foremostity of the Individuals speak has had an ideal influence on shaping their collective identity.
The concept of egalitarianism or having equal opportunities makes the second element of the American cultural identity. This sense that we all live in a land of opportunities, while others do not and we all are equal to have opportunities to live has integrated Individuals as a whole.
• Exceptionalism and Nationalism
The idea of exceptionalism has instilled in Americans mind via the history and consequently it has made them think that they are distinctive and particular people residing in a land of opportunities. They consider in American Dream and so they think that they’ve had this chance to live on this land not any other people. Americans imagine that they and only they’re exceptional and this concept offers them a way of nationalistic point of view. Being patriot is a very common image of being an American and it has a lot to do with exceptionalism and nationalism. For example, US flag is considered a nationwide image and a logo that integrates all Individuals to a whole.
Liberalism is undoubtedly probably the most influential component of American cultural identity. The concept of liberalism in America is as old as the United States where in accordance the US Constitution the individuals are free to work, worship, live, travel and so forth so forth so long as they respect every others’ rights. Liberalism limits the affect the federal government has on the personal lives of the citizens as well. When folks see that they are free to choose no matter they need under the liberalism umbrella, then they feel they are People and they 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 is called privacy. Ownership in America is of nice 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 just isn’t only about economic terms like property ownership. When it comes to culture, cultural individualism is the concept the whole People see themselves as an individual from which the idea of Americanism comes from.
Pragmatism, like individualism, has a Puritan origin. Individuals work very hard to achieve their goals. The query “What do you do?” is a quite common query in American culture. It means that hard-working is a vital factor among Americans. People work very hard they usually always think in regards to the results undermining the instruments by which they’ll achieve the ends. In accordance with the American multicultural context, pragmatist ideas which refuses any absolutes turned quite common because “moderately than believing in absolutes it is believed that these ideas are changeable and depend upon the context in which they’re being discussed.” (4)
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