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Individualism - Essay Example

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Name Date Course Section/# Individualism and its Properties When one speaks on the topic of individualism in the United States there are several tangential topics that must be related first in order to acquire a full and complete understanding of the term…
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Download file to see previous pages Obviously, the construct of individualism is as much of a personal identifier as it is a sociological one. As such, this essay will attempt to grapple with both of these concepts in order to adequately describe and illuminate the topic. Firstly, with regards to the United States representing an assimilated society, such a construct necessarily takes away a great deal of individualism just based on the most basic understanding of such a concept. Whereas an individual is expected to transform himself/herself in order to ascribe to what can only be defined as a “least common denominator” among peoples, key elements of individuality are necessarily lost. Moreover, in such a sociological understanding of the term assimilation, there is no individuality that is championed; rather, the collective identify of an imagined society and the bonds that it shackles those that subscribe to such a belief necessarily constrict any expression or hope of individualism that might otherwise exist within the given system. Additionally – if one were ascribe to the belief that the United States is no longer an assimilated society and ascribes more to a definition of a pluralistic mixture of peoples rather than a great melting pot (as promoted by the understanding of assimilation), there is still an issue with the individualism that could be exhibited in such a situation. For instance, whereas a foreign emigre would need to ascribe to the beliefs and mores/norms of the United States in the assimilation model, the same emigre would be expected to subscribe to a unique subset of culturally applicable norms/mores within their own community of ethnically similar emigres were they to ascribe to the cultural pluralism that has defined much of the political and social landscape for the past few decades. In this way, the reader can aptly note that regardless of whether one adopts a worldview that promotes an assimilation view of the United States or one in which a plurality of cultures more adequately define the landscape, either way, the fact remains that individuality is ultimately sacrificed in such an understanding due to the fact that both worldviews place little emphasis on the understanding of the individual but rather place their emphasis on the Similarly, the issue with the United State’s political system bears analysis. Due to the fact that the United States purports to have a functional representative democracy, one would expect that individualism would be fostered to a greater degree in such a system than compared to another. However, it is the belief of this author that the peculiar type of governmental system that exists within the United States actually diminishes individualism as compared to many other forms of parliamentary democracy that exist in diverse countries the world over. For instance, in many nations around the world, a plethora of political parties exist that must work together and eventually form types of coalition governments in which disparate groups must acquiesce and come to a general consensus and/or understanding on salient topics that affect the entire populace (Callero 29). However, as is the case in the United States, a two party system of governance has dominated the political landscape for well over two ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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