Briefly, our possessions are a major fleeter of our identities, as we ascribe meaning to what we buy and consume, we strive to assert, complete, or attain our “ideal” self through out possessions. Most studied of self-concept across cultures is the tendency toward an independent or interdependent self-construal. The two relatively stable self-construal which emphasize the degree to which people see themselves as separate from or connected to others. They described the western or Individualist self as Independent Is human nature good or bad? How should we treat unknown people?
Unknown people are considered favorably or treated with suspicion when met the first time. Appraising others, emphasis placed on: age, sex, social class Assume human nature is good, friendly and open-minded to people we don’t know. Australians have a strong positive belief about new people, who are assumed to be good. Civilized-good, uncivilized(landings, gamblers, desperadoes)=bad. In contract, first contact with the Latin Europeans and South Americans can be more difficult. If human nature is assumed to be good, then friendship develops quickly but often more superficially.
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When assumed that human nature is generally bad, friendship develops more slowly owing to initial distrust. Friendships will generally be fewer, but deeper. A circle of friends may be a protective barrier against a society perceived as unfriendly. How do we appraise others? Upon the contrast in bodily form, men have built analogies between sun and moon, night and day, goodness and evil, strength and tenderness, steadfastness and fickleness, endurance and vulnerability. Some people think of women as too weak to work out of doors, others regard women as the appropriate bearers of heavy burdens.
Some religions, including our European traditional religions, have assigned women as inferior role in the religious hierarchy; others built their whole symbolic legislations with the supernatural world upon male imitations of the natural function of women. Some certain cultures, like Japan and Africa, place a higher value on older people, while others, like the united States and Australia, value younger people In society. On average, “modern culture” values younger people because changes are extremely rapid.
Social class Is Important for consumer behavior, as people express their real or imagined class differences by what they buy and use. Social class is something in between, in that it does not belong to an individual but extends to his or her family. How do we Judge ourselves? Three main areas of cultural contrasts may be identified: self-esteem, perceived potency and perceived activity. Low self-esteem results in displaying modest and self-effacing behaviors, whereas higher self-esteem results in displaying more assertiveness and self-assurance. Asians, on average, clearly display lower self- esteem than westerners.
When the appropriate level of personal activity is seen as high, people will boast about their being Workaholics’, will work weekend, and generally be satisfied with overworking. People who are low on self-esteem, perceived power and perceived activity feel powerless. Conversely, people are more overconfident and take on difficult tasks, even to the extent of failure. How do we relate the individual to the group? People from individualist cultures have a more clear-cut view of where ‘oneself’ stops and where ‘others’ start, whereas people from collectivist cultures have much fuzzier borders between their self and their ingrown.
The ‘rice argument’ is frequently used to explain the differences between individualism and collectivism. Common individualist assumptions are as follows: 1 . Initiative, effort and achievements can best be developed at the individual level, because people are different. 2. Individual achievements can be added to each other without loss. 3. Society has to maximize individual freedom, emphasize high individual achievers, and value individual. Collectivism assumptions:l .
Initiative, effort and achievements can best be developed at the group level, because people function in groups rather than as separate independent entities. They belong to a common reality. 2. Collective achievements are fundamentally different in nature from individual achievements, and the combination of parts is much greater than the parts themselves. 3. Society has to maximize group coherence and social harmony, even at the expense of individual achievements. Collectivism is often associated with traditional culture’, whereas individualism is a strong component of ‘modern culture’.
Since the Middle Ages, the awareness of self has become less shared and more individualistic, which is evidenced by the growing popularity of self-oriented objects such as mirrors, self- portraits, chairs. The individualist/collectivist divide is not always clear-cut. In individualist societies people still belong to groups, live in communities and think of themselves as integrated into a larger whole. In collectivist societies people still feel a need to express their personal identity. Individualist societies are more likely to rely on individuality and rationality as motivations for cooperation.