Saul McLeodpublishedupdated Conformity is a type of social influence involving a change in belief or behavior in order to fit in with a group. Group pressure may take different forms, for example bullying, persuasion, teasing, criticism, etc. Conformity is also known as majority influence or group pressure.
Think of Clint Eastwood rendering justice, rule-bound superiors be damned. But are Americans really so uniquely individualistic?
Are we, for example, more committed individualists than people in those socialist-looking nations of Europe? The answer appears to be no.
For many years now, researchers worldwide have been conducting surveys to compare the values of people in different countries. And when it comes to questions about how much the respondents value the individual against the collective — that is, how much they give priority to individual interest over the demand of groups, or personal conscience over the orders of authority — Americans consistently answer in a way that favors the group over the individual.
In fact, we are more likely to favor the group than Europeans are. We are more likely to defer to church leaders and to insist on abiding by the law.
Though Americans do score high on a couple of aspects of individualism, especially where it concerns government intervening in the market, in general we are likelier than Europeans to believe that individuals should go along and get along. American individualism is far more complex than our national myths, or the soap-box rhetoric of right and left, would have it.
It is not individualism in the libertarian sense, the idea that the individual comes before any group and that personal freedom comes before any allegiance to authority.
The image of America as the bastion of libertarianism is a long-established one. Our Founding Fathers stipulated a set of personal rights and freedoms in our key documents that was, by the standards of that day, radical. Over the last few decades, scholars around the world have collaborated to mount surveys of representative samples of people from different countries.
Starting with just a handful of countries, both now pose the same questions to respondents from dozens of nations. Their findings suggest that in several major areas, Americans are clearly less individualistic than western Europeans.
One topic pits individual conscience against the demands of the state. They contradict much of the justification for the Second Amendment, whose supporters see it as empowering the individual with a gun to say no to the state.
But what about more intimate arenas of life? The nature of individualism is complex, however, and there are at least a couple of ways that Americans in the ISSP and similar surveys do appear more individualistic than Europeans.
For one, Americans are usually the most likely to say that individuals determine their own fates. What happens to you is your own doing, not the product of external circumstances. For Americans, things are the way they are because individuals made choices.
Also, the closer survey questions get to matters of economics and government, the clearer it is that Americans are strong believers in laissez-faire. In fact, Americans seem much more willing to submerge personal liberty to the group than Europeans are.
However, Americans also believe that, once individuals are members of the group, they must be loyal. In the Old World, communities were more commonly imposed on individuals, and constraining.
Traditionally, one was born into a clan, ethnicity, church, village, or nation and pretty much locked into it.
In the New World, with the noted exception of Indians and slaves, membership became a matter of free choice and voluntary commitment. Americans believe in contracts — or covenants, to use religious language.
Lumbert provided some interesting points in her discussion of group conformity, but she did little to investigate the reasons for this behavior. An analysis of the evolution of conformity would have provided a powerful argument for the reason conformity exits today. Evolution of Religious Conformity Throughout American history, conformity has been used as a tool of deception to rob Americans of their individuality and freedom. From as early as European colonization in America to now, people have been forced to conform to the beliefs of mainstream society. Background. Families were often divided during the American Revolution, and many felt themselves to be both American and British, still owing a loyalty to the mother country.
Our culture insists that if you marry, if you take a job, if you join a club, and so on, you are signing an explicit or implicit contract to cooperate and conform. If the group no longer works for you, the door is open.
American-style individualism lies in the freedom to choose; American-style collectivism lies in the commitment to the group that freely choosing entails. We can see this impulse, too, in the very earliest days of American settlement.
InJohn Winthrop, who would be the first governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, addressed his shipmates sailing to the New World. They were a mix of Puritan refugees and those simply traveling to seek their fortunes.
He urged each one to submit to the group: The settlers simultaneously made the highly individualistic choice of leaving their old ties behind and the communal choice of binding themselves with others in a new community.Jun 06, · But in modern America, when you look at real issues where individual rights conflict with group interests, Americans don’t appear to see things this way at all.
Over the last few decades, scholars around the world have collaborated to mount surveys of representative samples of . Many in the s strove for the comfort and conformity depicted on such TV shows as Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver..
But despite the emerging affluence of the new American middle class, there was a poverty, racism, and alienation in America that was rarely depicted on TV. Throughout American history, conformity has been used as a tool of deception to rob Americans of their individuality and freedom.
From as early as European colonization in America to now, people have been forced to conform to the beliefs of mainstream society. The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA and the EUROPEAN COMMUNITY, hereinafter referred other's conformity assessment procedures, as well as to give positive consideration to accepting as as their shared commitment to the evolution of the relevant International Instruments.
US/CE/en 7 3. Evolution of Religious Conformity Throughout American history, conformity has been used as a tool of deception to rob Americans of their individuality and freedom.
From as early as European colonization in America to now, people have been forced to conform to the beliefs of mainstream society. Background. Families were often divided during the American Revolution, and many felt themselves to be both American and British, still owing a loyalty to the mother country.