In “Individual Autonomy and Social Structure”, Dorothy Lee discusses different types of cultures within a given society. Lee states that “the principle of personal autonomy is supported by the cultural framework.”(Lee, 5). Lee examines the differences between the individual autonomy of non-western societies and the autonomy of western societies in order to better the society we live in. The reading gave Lee’s point of view on how different societies deal with their conflicts. The conflict between the social structure in western society and individual autonomy is the key social problem that Lee is addressing. Individual autonomy is understood by one’s capacity to decide for them self, to be one’s own person, and the ability to determine their own actions. Individual autonomy is a large principle in western society, as individuals are free to make their own decisions, without being restricted by societies norms. In the article, Lee describes that personal autonomy can lead to lawlessness and chaos in our western culture. Dorothy Lee talks about individual autonomy and the social structure in western culture, and how it is very difficult to comply these two areas in order for them to work in accordance to one another. Lee uses child rearing as a cultural example to demonstrate a resolution between individual autonomy and social structure. “In every society, we find some organized social unit, but not everywhere does the social unit provide freedom to the individual or the
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Though generalization in nature excludes outliers and exceptions, it serves as a perfect method of exemplification in Rodriguez’s essay, as his argument involves not a specific situation or individual, but rather a national culture as a whole. Throughout the essay, Rodriguez states several themes of American society to support his idea that Americans have weak family values. The principle of departure from home is mentioned early in the essay. “The assurance of family–continuity, inevitably–is precisely what America encourages its children to overturn. Become your own man,” Rodriguez states (Rodriguez 310). Americans see dependence on family members as a terrible weakness. Therefore, committing an act like living with one’s parents during an economically difficult time, such as Rodriguez in fact committed, is frowned upon by society. Going away to study, and leaving one’s guardians is a sign of manhood and success. Ignoring the exceptions to this argument, such as the parents that persuade their children to study near home, or the children who come home with much enthusiasm, Rodriguez simply states what he thinks is dominant in American culture. He mentions particular examples that represent the weaknesses in American family life to make a generalization that allows his argument to appear much stronger. Later in the essay, he goes on to compare American values to those of the Chinese. A comment made by Rodriguez’s
In today’s culture people are not individuals they are consumers and they have lost their ability to have their own experiences. In “The Loss of the Creature” by Walker Percy, he talks about why people have lost their sovereignty and how they can get it back. There are a lot of things that people can do differently and regain their individuality back from the consumer culture that they live in.
Raising America, the book written by Ann Hulbert discussing a century’s worth of child-rearing advice in America, was an interesting book. Hulbert has divided this book into four sections; The Birth of a Science, Psychological Leaps, Identity Crisis, and Psychological Limits. Each section covers parts of the whole century. Hulbert has also dived each of these section into what she refers to as two different schools,
However, in order to become a successful human being, human nature is something that to a certain extent needs to be individually developed through one’s own challenges and experiences. At some point in a person’s life, significantly at an early age, they are ultimately helpless, therefore they need the attention and guidance of the family to be put on the right path to achieve and flourish as a human being. This is why the family is the core of humanization and education. This is where the values of family and responsibility play a vital role in guiding and promoting the right beliefs and concepts for the development of successful, well-developed human beings. This also means that mothers have an extremely important role in the East Asian families, because they nourish and educate their children from adolescence till they can become independently grown individuals (Magagna, Oct 13). Such nourishment and uprising, also requires the person to experience events solely by themselves, forming their own opinion and judgment. Therefore, requiring one to self-cultivate and prosper. While the Self-cultivation can be done anywhere, the most important and logical place to do it would be at home, where one receives the humanization and education from their parents. Even if the individual can’t go to college to develop such experiences, they can still receive the self-cultivation to the wider world at home from their family (Magagna, Oct 13). Therefore, this means that the
“Acknowledges the fact that in individualistic cultures, ‘people are supposed to look after themselves and their family only’ while in collective cultures, ‘people belong to groups or collectives which are supposed to look after them in exchange for loyalty’”. (Theriault, 2016)
When raising a child in this society we find ourselves asking questions like “to what extent can we allow a child to make his own decision” (lee,2). We have no trust in these kids, whereas in many other societies we know,” it would be presumption for any person to “allow” another to take what is essentially his prerogative” (lee, 4). The Wintu Indians believe the child should decide for himself. “It is in the parent’s mentality to give permission or freedom because it is not within their rights to give” (lee, 7) .An example of this would be .There is no time schedule for their children. When a child is hungry, they will feed them, when a child is sleepy, they will put them to sleep. They are showing the respect for the individual’s personal being. The individual is shown absolute respect from birth and valued as sheer being for his own uniqueness.
For example one family may allow their child more freedom and let them play outside in the street whereas another would keep the child in the confines of the garden only. This is also true in the case of an older child for instance a teenager. One may be allowed the independence and freedom of coming in late and another is not. All these decisions made by parents and carers can affect their child’s development.
As time marched on, childhood became a socially constructed stage of life. Coupled with a rise in the traditional family view of domesticity (men at work, women isolated as homemakers), new concepts of child rearing took hold in the middle and upper classes. Instead of exposing children to the world, ?Deferral of adult responsibilities rather than assumption of adult roles became the child-rearing norm,? writes Feld (30). The ?child saving? movement worked to segregate children from society both directly and indirectly. These protective measures were based chiefly on middle class, protestant, white, rural idealists who viewed childhood as a stage of moral immaturity and impressionability. ?Progressive reformers implemented a variety of child-saving strategies
In Dorothy Lee’s “Individual Autonomy and Social Structure,” she argues that while individual autonomy and social structures can coexist together in a community, westernized culture tends not to respect individual autonomy. Social structures, in this case, refer to language, child rearing, work, and leadership roles. Language is a main theme that Lee discusses in the article. She specifically looks at the Wintu natives of California because their language has the ability to respect individual autonomy. Lee makes the argument that social structures can support individual autonomy if they are altered or changed in some way.
For example, young men are able to make their own decisions prior to their priorities and future. They become more independent from the family, especially from the father’s authority. The liberty of thoughts and decisions is what makes young men to become more individualistic. In an aristocratic society, the father is the main person that the society recognize and the children “are received by society at his hands; society governs him, he governs them” (Tocqueville 219).
Freedom is the ultimate goal—this intrinsic desire has been manifested within human civilization since the beginning of time. Although, humans crave the idea of complete freedom, they do not understand what complete freedom entails. I believe freedom is a social construct that is conceptualized. The definition of freedom almost always varies from person to person; my interpretation of freedom is being given the ability to act, reason and believe with the condition of minimal constraint. Moreover, the terms freedom and free-will must be differentiated between, they cannot be defined within the same realm. Free-will is a psychological capacity, directing ones behavior in a way responsive to reason, while freedom is constrained by rules that govern us through social order. Dostoevsky’s Grand Inquisitor proclaims that it is not freedom that brings man happiness, but security. On the contrary, Socrates a famous Greek philosopher, places much emphasis on freedom that he accepts death over living a slave.
Moreover, as an individual grows up from being a child, they receive cultural values from the family or the society around. There are questions raised on matters dealing with identity: Can an individual choose his or her own
Many societies have adopted the notion of following a social structure where there is a type of hierarchy in an organisation based on the relationship between individuals. In the Western culture, a social structure is defined as a system that is based on the establishment of social interactions between diverse relationships such as those between parents and children. In contrast, non-western societies have been living a lifestyle where individual autonomy prevails within different families. Hence, in those societies, the concept of child-rearing is a process of self-governance. This idea is well depicted in Dorothy Lee’s
The term “behavior” refers one’s acts dominated by ideology in response to certain situations. Behavior derives from the long development of culture in which people are defined what is supposed to act based on the identity given. In other words, one’s behavior sometimes is the demonstration of one’s identity. Living in a multi-culture world, people from various cultures may behave totally different toward a situation or stimulus. Western and eastern cultures typically reflects the point of behavioral differentiations among distinct cultures. The United States, as a superpower established in last hundreds of years, possesses distinguishing features of western culture such as open and liberty. Meanwhile, China is an eastern country with an ancient civilization stands for conservative culture. Therefore, as represents of these two cultures, the United States and China are appropriate examples to explore the behavioral differentiations, and the differences in behavior can be well demonstrated through daily behaviors like classroom, driving and dining.
This essay will discuss the influence of cultural dimensions on behavior. A cultural dimension is defined as a perspective of a culture based on its values and cultural norms. In particular, Hofstede’s cultural dimension of individualism vs. collectivism will be discussed. Individualism vs collectivism is defined as the preference of a person only being concerned about oneself and looking after oneself, compared to a person who wants to remain in a closely knitted network. These are some terms with definitions which will be used in this essay: the Asch paradigm, which refers to the studies conducted by Solomon Asch, in which he showed his participants different lines and asked them to verbally judge and respond as to what the length of the