Role of Individualism in American Society
Individualism can be defined as the quality of being different from other people and doing things in one’s own way; being independent and self reliant. It also refers to the belief that in a society, people should have the right to make their own decisions. Socialization process on the other hand, is the process by which one learns from others and hence acquires personal identity, norms, values and skills. Individualism, as one of the American cultural values has a variety of roles to ones socialization process as discussed below
Socialization involves interacting with others. During such interactions, there are tendencies to conform to the group thoughts, pressure and decisions of the peer or senior authority. However, the proper knowledge of self would then help one in the evaluation and decision making. Individualism thus aids in making proper and uninfluenced decisions in the process of learning from others in the immediate environment.
Individualism enables one to evade group thinking and develop the courage to be himself or herself in the socialization process. The value of individualism enables one to borrow or conform to constructive ideas and sieve out every negative thoughts and ideas from a group. The value of individuality would supersede every feeling of the need to conform to any negative idea be it due need to for social respect or acceptance.
Individualism encourages self reliance and independence and thus one is hardly affected by the so called “risky shifts.” One remains to honor his or her stands in the groups without any fear or favor and taking firm stands of their principles in every environment that shapes his or her socialization. Continuous emphasis and exploits of personal values finally inculcates self esteem and confidence in them as they adopt a positive attitude and respect to them with whom we associate.
In conclusion, individualism plays a critical role in terms of enabling one to build a sense of assertiveness that enables one to adopt only positive attributes of the constructs acquired in the socialization process.