In this, his latest book, Harry Triandis explores the constructs of
collectivism and individualism. Collectivists are closely linked
individuals who view themselves primarily as parts of a whole, be
it a family, a network of co-workers, a tribe, or a nation. Such
people are mainly motivated by the norms and duties imposed by the
collective entity. Individualists are motivated by their own
preferences, needs, and rights, giving priority to personal rather
than to group goals.Reviewing relevant literature in philosophy,
political science, anthropology, sociology, and psychology,
Triandis shows how culture shapes the way we think; and he also
explores the wide-ranging implications of individualism and
collectivism for political, social, religious, and economic life.
He makes compelling arguments for the appreciation of both
perspectives, drawing on examples from Japan, Sweden, China,
Greece, Russia, the United States and other countries.Triandis
challenges the view that psychology is universal, offering evidence
for culture-specific influences on thought and action. We learn
that the cultural patterns represented by individualism and
collectivism lead people to view their worlds through different
lenses, attaching different meanings to life events. Triandis
explains how these variations in meaning can help us better
understand why crime rates, divorce rates, levels of self-esteem,
feelings of well-being, and indeed overall behavioral patterns can
be so different from one society to another.
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