Before everything we must have a clarification over terms resembling tradition, identity and cultural identity which leads us to the American cultural identity and its elements. Tradition is a really difficult term to define. “It has more than a hundred definitions.” (1) To give a easy definition and no to confused with the hundred of the definitions we can define tradition as follows: tradition refers to the customs, practices, languages, values and world views that define social groups akin to these based mostly on nationality, ethnicity, region or widespread interests.
Identity is another time period we should know about before understanding cultural identity. “The condition or character as to who an individual or what a thing is.”(2) One of the best way to define the term identity is a solution to the question who am I? We will say that identity is about our self-notion and notion of others. There are 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 individuals’ 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.” (three) The master forces of collective identity are nationality, ethnicity, faith, gender, profession and decadent culture.
Cultural identity is the identity of a gaggle, culture or of an individual so 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 can be simply defined because the sets of values, norms and beliefs that make the American individuals as the Americans. Collective identity just isn’t in conflict with personal identity as every American has its own identity while the entire People has a selected collective identity by which they are distinguished from the British people.
Talking in regards to the components of the American cultural identity is difficult, because there are a lot of elements that shape it. To count a few of the most vital components I am going for the following ones.
English language is without doubt one of the elements that in my view have formed the American cultural identity. It offers the People a way of getting 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 majority of the People speak has had an incredible affect on shaping their collective identity.
The concept of egalitarianism or having equal opportunities makes the second aspect of the American cultural identity. This sense that all of us live in a land of opportunities, while others do not and all of us are equal to have opportunities to live has integrated Americans as a whole.
• Exceptionalism and Nationalism
The concept of exceptionalism has instilled in People mind via the history and as a result it has made them think that they are distinctive and particular folks residing in a land of opportunities. They imagine in American Dream and they think that they have had this likelihood to live on this land not every other people. Individuals imagine that they and only they are exceptional and this thought provides them a sense of nationalistic point of view. Being patriot is a quite 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 element of American cultural identity. The idea 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 forth so forth as long as they respect each others’ rights. Liberalism limits the affect the government has on the personal lives of the citizens as well. When people see that they’re free to decide on no matter they want under the liberalism umbrella, then they feel they’re People and so they acknowledge themselves as Americans.
Individualism has had an amazing 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 living in America and believing in American beliefs. Individualism is just not only about economic terms like property ownership. When it comes to culture, cultural individualism is the idea that the whole People see themselves as a person 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 question in American culture. It implies that hard-working is a very important factor amongst Americans. People work very hard and so they always think about the outcomes undermining the tools by which they will achieve the ends. In accordance with the American multicultural context, pragmatist concepts which refuses any absolutes turned quite common because “fairly than believing in absolutes it is believed that these ideas are changeable and rely upon the context in which they are being discussed.” (4)
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