American Culture: Individualism

1093 words 5 pages
When most people think about the “American culture,” images of Coca-Cola, hot dogs, baseball games, big cars and suburban mansions come to mind. But there is a deeper side to American culture than Hollywood and Disney World. Underneath the layers of TV advertising and hyper-consumerism, there is a cultural DNA that makes America what it is. Here is a brief look at several cultural “genes” that influence the way Americans think and act.
Individualism
Individualism is a way of life by which a person places his or her own desires, needs, and comforts above the needs of a broader community. This does not mean that Americans have no concern for other people, but it does mean that they give high priority to their personal ambitions. This can
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Americans are always searching for faster and more efficient ways to accomplish their work. This need is one factor that drives the technology and computer industries. But because it’s impossible to “save time,” these advances usually mean that people just end up doing more work.

For a better understanding of how Americans perceive work, you might read the book called Working, by Studs Terkel (who is the son of Russian parents).
Religion
The individualism described above influences the way Americans express spirituality and religion. There are so many different religious expressions in the U.S. that it can seem like a spiritual Mall of America—a religion for every taste and style. Freedom of religious expression is a constitutional right in the U.S., and Americans have taken full advantage of that freedom.

According to a recent national survey made by the Pew Forum, Catholic and Protestant faiths continue to be the most prominent of all faiths in the American culture. There are many subdivisions among these two groups, especially among the protestant churches. But it is correct to say that the U.S. population is still mostly Christian. Religion in the U.S. can create a lot of debate and argument, especially when it mixes with politics and public education. Religious groups have an influence in politics even though there are many strong legal barriers against mixing Church and State. Despite religious influence, religion is not

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