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American

Culture Individualism and Privacy Warm up: Discuss the following with a partner. 1.) When you think of the word Individualism, what do you think of? a. What is the word translated in Korean? Does it have a positive or negative connotation (feeling)? 2.) When do you prefer to have time alone, without friends or family? a. Do you believe its true for most people in Korea? Reading: Look at the following words in bold. Do you know what they mean? Try to describe their meaning to you partner before reading the text. The individualism which has been developed in the western world since the Renaissance, beginning in the late 15th century, has taken its most exaggerated form in 20th century United States. Here, each individual is seen as completely and marvelously unique, that is, totally different from all other individuals and, therefore, precious and wonderful. Americans think they are more individualistic in their thoughts and actions than, in fact, they are. They resist being thought of as representatives of a homogeneous group, whatever the group. They may, and do, join groups -- in fact many groups -- but somehow believe theyre just a little unique, just a little special, from other members of the same group. And they tend to leave groups as easily as they enter them. Privacy, the ultimate result of individualism, is perhaps even more difficult for the foreigner to comprehend. The word privacy does not even exist in many languages. If it does, it is likely to have a strongly negative connotation, suggesting loneliness or isolation from the group. In the United States, privacy is not only seen as a very positive condition, but it is also viewed as a requirement which all humans would find equally necessary, desirable and satisfying. It is not uncommon for Americans to say -- and believe such statements as If I dont have at least an hour a day to myself, I will go stark raving mad. Individualism, as it exists in the United States, does mean that you will find a much greater variety of opinions (along with the absolute freedom to express them anywhere and anytime) here. Yet, in spite of this wide range of personal opinion, almost all Americans will ultimately vote for one of the two major political parties. This is what was meant by the statement made earlier that Americans take pride in crediting themselves with claiming more individualism than, in fact, they really have. Discussion: Discuss the following with a group/partner. 3.) Think about the different groups youre part of. (Consider school clubs, social groups, etc.) a. When youre part of a group, is there any type of special clothes or style that represents the group? b. Do you often feel that youre a little bit different from others in the group? (consider opinions/actions etc.) c. How often do you feel pressure to fit in (to match the behavior, actions, and opinions) of a group youre part of?

Instructor: Joe Milan Material modified from: The Values Americans Live by By Robert Kohls

American Culture Individualism and Privacy 4.) In Korea, do you think people are encouraged to be more of a group or more individualistic? What examples can you think of? a. Do you feel this is a good thing or a bad thing? 5.) Often celebrities say that they have little to no privacy. Do you believe this is true? a. Do you feel that privacy, time to be alone, is important? Why/why not? 6.) How often do you meet people with very different opinions than you? a. Do you think a variety of opinions, (and people willing to express it), is a good or a bad thing? b. When someone has a different opinion about a subject, do people respect that opinion, or do they negatively react to that opinion?

Instructor: Joe Milan Material modified from: The Values Americans Live by By Robert Kohls