The paper "Dominant American Values" is a wonderful example of a research paper on social science.
A nation consists of people coming from different cultures. Since culture consists of many facets such as language, behavior, religion, values and social customs, there is always a dominant culture in a country that becomes a norm. People in society are expected to conform to society as a whole since it creates a common understanding between people. A culture becomes dominant when its facets become more consistent in the society. Their consistency is influenced by economic, social or political powers, such as language, education, art, history, and values.
The United States of America traditionally has been a country of immigrants. Historically, and till today America is seen as a land of opportunity for foreigners, who brought along their ways and style of living. Some of their traits became a part of a today dominant culture and some remained a minority. Then there are elements from Native Americans and ethnic subcultures such as the African American. Their culture and lifestyle evolved to be American values that remained consistent with a large population of natives and immigrants alike. These were strongly influenced by European individualism, Protestant Christianity and domestic originality. European Americans have long-run government institutions, education and commerce, so they typically reflect European values.1 The liberty and objective of freedom have brought a culture popular among young Americans known as pop (popular) culture, where all ideas, attitudes, images, and ideas are a norm per an informal consensus.
European colonization and institutions established a system of democracy and capitalism in America. This system has further promoted individualism in people and hence achieving an American Dream. A modern American’s success and achievement are centered towards this dream, to own a home, work hard and be empowered to pursue what one dreams. This attitude emanates from the media which involves advertising, marketing and all ways of commercialism. This brings a strong sense of nationalism, their loyalty towards their country, national flag, symbols, and history.2 They believe in spending more on American products, as a contribution to their country. Spending more for material comfort, looking forward and discarding what is obsolete and outmoded. They expect to attain this from earning more and developing as early as possible. This desire to achieve then determines how an individual’s education, family and work. Hence a common American is expected to go to school, college, earn a degree and a high paying position ultimately that will eventually earn him a home. There is an increasing trend of pursuing a business along with work as a greater dream.3 Therefore achievement and success is a pinnacle among American values.
American society is a very fast-paced society that is constantly committed to achieving more in a short time. An American’s worth is measured by performance, busyness, and speed along with the quality of life, such as sports, eating, traveling, entertainment, and mostly that is the result of the Pop culture trend. Therefore they govern a Puritan work ethic of work before play. For high school students achievement within a group, such as sports, theatrics, technology, and academics, is important. College students continue to be recognized as successful when they are typically active in academic life and social life. There are minority groups as well which are closely knit and revolve within their circles, such as college-level athletics. Individuals then tend to earn more by pursuing a degree and aim for a higher paying job. American employees tend not to stick around in a single organization, but rather jump from one to another to reach maximum progress in less time. They are more flexible towards change and always appreciate changes that bring new developments, technique, and discipline in science. Progress is often identified by the Darwinian idea of survival.
There is much stress in maintaining equality in American culture, which is a foundation for the American dream, to make opportunities equally available to everyone. There are strict rights and laws that go against inequality in all aspects of the economy. It maintains the value of Freedom. Freedom maintains individual choice, free enterprise, free-market economy and equality among individuals and practice of religion. Democracy and individualism with laws also enforce this value, where everyone has the right to vote, criticize and regulate conduct to accepted standards.
American culture and heritage are hence mostly non-indigenous. Where diverse backgrounds create different families, traditions, and beliefs, it has led to a mix of different cultures which is now a dominant American culture. However, today in this century, the impact of September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks have immensely affected the social outlook of Americans. It has made a local American to be more cautious and confused about social and physical security. It has created friction for foreigners and Americans to move and fro in the country.
Alison Raymond Lanier, J. C. (2005). Living in the U.S.A.
Brooke Workman. (n.d.). Dominant American Values. Retrieved from http://www.cc.ysu.edu/~satingle/dominant_american_values.htm
US CUltural Report. (2009). American Culture Report: Cultural Guide for Doing Business with Americans. Washington D.C.