In the beginning we must have a clarification over terms equivalent to tradition, identity and cultural identity which leads us to the American cultural identity and its elements. Culture is a really complicated time period to define. “It has more than a hundred definitions.” (1) To give a simple 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 groups resembling these based on nationality, ethnicity, region or widespread interests.
Identity is another time period we must 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 an answer to the query who am I? We are able to say that identity is about our self-notion and notion of others. There are completely different types of identity based on completely different ways of categorizing of aspects. Personal identity, social identity and collective identity are probably 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 individual, the identity derived from the collective shapes a part of his or her personal identity.” (3) The master forces of collective identity are nationality, ethnicity, religion, gender, profession and decadent culture.
Cultural identity is the identity of a group, tradition or of an individual as far as one is influenced by one’s belonging to a bunch 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 folks as the Americans. Collective identity is not in battle with personal identity as each American has its own identity while the entire Americans has a selected collective identity by which they’re distinguished from the British people.
Talking about the elements of the American cultural identity is tough, because there are various parts that form it. To count among the most necessary elements I go for the following ones.
English language is among the parts that in my opinion have formed the American cultural identity. It gives the Americans a sense of having a British origin and a sense 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 amazing affect on shaping their collective identity.
The thought of egalitarianism or having equal opportunities makes the second component of the American cultural identity. This sense that all of us reside in a land of opportunities, while others don’t and we all are equal to have opportunities to live has integrated People as a whole.
• Exceptionalism and Nationalism
The thought of exceptionalism has instilled in People mind by way of the history and in consequence it has made them think that they’re distinctive and special individuals dwelling in a land of opportunities. They believe in American Dream and so they think that they have had this likelihood to live on this land not another people. People believe that they and only they’re exceptional and this idea 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 instance, US flag is considered a nationwide symbol and an emblem that integrates all Americans to a whole.
Liberalism is undoubtedly probably the most influential ingredient of American cultural identity. The thought of liberalism in America is as old because the United States the place according the US Constitution the persons are free to work, worship, live, travel and so forth so forth as long as they respect every others’ rights. Liberalism limits the influence the government has on the personal lives of the citizens as well. When folks see that they’re free to choose no matter they need under the liberalism umbrella, then they really feel they are Individuals they usually acknowledge themselves as Americans.
Individualism has had an ideal 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 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 isn’t only about financial terms like property ownership. By way of tradition, cultural individualism is the concept that the entire People see themselves as an individual from which the idea of Americanism comes from.
Pragmatism, like individualism, has a Puritan origin. People work very hard to achieve their goals. The question “What do you do?” is a very common question in American culture. It means that hard-working is an important factor among Americans. Individuals work very hard they usually always think about the outcomes undermining the tools by which they can achieve the ends. In accordance with the American multicultural context, pragmatist ideas which refuses any absolutes grew to become quite common because “quite than believing in absolutes it is believed that these concepts are changeable and depend upon the context in which they’re being discussed.” (4)
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