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Collectivist Cultures

The culture of a group can range in size from small communities to entire nations; when a culture of any size puts the needs of the group as a whole over the needs of any one given individual, they are said to be a collectivist culture. Collectivist CulturesOne of the hallmarks of these types of cultures is a sense of connection between members, almost like an extended family. On the national level, these cultures are found throughout Asia, Latin America, and Africa; in the western world, they are much more limited.

Traits of a collectivist culture are often seen in the behaviors and beliefs of members of said culture. Generally speaking, people within this culture place more emphasis on the concept of the greater good; they are willing to make sacrifices or do more than their fair share so as to improve the quality of life of everyone. There is also a great deal of teamwork and collaboration among members; this can be seen in Amish culture, for example, when members come together to support one of their own and help build a barn in an incredibly short period of time. Families also play a key role in collectivist cultures; Chinese culture, for example, uses familial terms as signs of respect and connection, such as aunt or uncle, even when people are not related. Finally, collectivist cultures reinforce their values through social norms that encourage selflessness. If someone has more than enough of something, they are often socially pressured to share their good fortune with others, thus elevating the entire community.

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