In the beginning we should have a clarification over terms equivalent to tradition, identity and cultural identity which leads us to the American cultural identity and its elements. Tradition is a really complicated 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 are able to define tradition as follows: culture refers back to the customs, practices, languages, values and world views that define social groups resembling these primarily based on nationality, ethnicity, region or common interests.
Identity is another term we must know about before understanding cultural identity. “The condition or character as to who an individual or what a thing is.”(2) The best way to define the time period identity is an answer to the query who am I? We can say that identity is about our self-notion and perception of others. There are completely different types of identity according 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 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, faith, gender, profession and decadent culture.
Cultural identity is the identity of a bunch, tradition or of a person 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 may be simply defined as the sets of values, norms and beliefs that make the American folks because the Americans. Collective identity will not be in conflict with personal identity as each American has its own identity while the entire Americans has a selected collective identity by which they are distinguished from the British people.
Talking in regards to the parts of the American cultural identity is difficult, because there are many parts that form it. To depend a number of the most essential elements I go for the next ones.
English language is likely one of the elements that in my opinion have shaped the American cultural identity. It gives the Americans 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 Americans speak has had a great affect on shaping their collective identity.
The idea of egalitarianism or having equal opportunities makes the second component of the American cultural identity. This sense that we all live in a land of opportunities, while others don’t 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 by means of the history and in consequence it has made them think that they are distinctive and particular individuals residing in a land of opportunities. They imagine in American Dream and they think that they have had this probability to live on this land not any other people. People consider that they and only they’re exceptional and this concept gives them a way 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 instance, US flag is considered a nationwide image and an emblem that integrates all People to a whole.
Liberalism is undoubtedly the most influential component of American cultural identity. The concept of liberalism in America is as old because the United States where in accordance the US Constitution the people are free to work, worship, live, journey and so forth so forth as 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 individuals see that they’re free to decide on no matter they need under the liberalism umbrella, then they really feel they are Individuals and they acknowledge themselves as Americans.
Individualism has had an excellent 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 gives the owner a sense by which he/she feels American because they consider it a results of living in America and believing in American beliefs. Individualism is just not only about financial terms like property ownership. By way of tradition, cultural individualism is the idea that the entire 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 question “What do you do?” is a very common query in American culture. It means that hard-working is an important factor amongst Americans. Individuals work very hard they usually always think in regards to the results undermining the tools by which they will achieve the ends. In accordance with the American multicultural context, pragmatist ideas which refuses any absolutes became quite common because “rather than believing in absolutes it is believed that these concepts are changeable and depend on the context in which they are being discussed.” (four)
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