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In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.


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December 29th, 2010

Are Americans Exceptionally Individualistic?


In a terrific post on one of my favorite sites, Sociological Images, we learn that our assumptions of American individualism aren’t really that accurate.

If you define individualism as “gives priority to personal liberty” then, Claude Fischer, at Made in America, concludes

“There is considerable evidence, ” he writes, “that Americans are not more individualistic – in fact, are less individualistic – than other peoples.”

According to surveys conducted in America, Great Britian and several European nations, when it comes to questions like “Right or wrong should be a matter of personal conscience,” and “People should support their country even if the country is in the wrong,” Americans are at or near the bottom of the charts: We’re “less” individualistic than the French, Germans or British.

Check out all the charts here. Does this mess with your head? It should.

The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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