What Issue/Problem Are The Authors Of The Paper Addressing? Literature Review Samples
Article Review Paper
Article Review Paper
The article by Grossmann and Varnum focuses on an analysis of cultural change through an exploration of eight cultural-level markers of individualism in America. The authors state “We have provided a temporary analysis of cultural change in individualism in the United States over a time span of 150 years” (322). The authors’ implicit arguments throughout the article focus on preference for uniqueness in baby naming. It also explores the frequency of individualist themes in books, single-generation relative to multigenerational homes, single-child relative to multi-child families, the percentage of adults and older adults living alone, divorce rates, and small family sizes.
Why is it important?
The analysis is vital to understanding why individualism is on the rise. It helps members of the society in comprehending factors triggering the increasing adoption of individualism. It is an emphasis on self-fulfillment, personal autonomy, and uniqueness. It explains why collectivism is declining; collectivism involves a focus on strong family toes, duty, and in-group cohesion (311). The authors argue that there are constant cultural shifts from individualism to collectivism and vice-versa (312). The arguments are evident in the five formulated hypotheses. The first hypothesis states that the prevalence of infectious diseases in a culture increases the shift towards collectivism. It occurs in line with the pathogen prevalence theory. The second hypothesis outlines a reduction in individualism in cases of disaster; such occurrences strengthen people’s need to rely on one another. The third hypothesis depicts how modernization fosters individualism; this occurs through the development of complex and autonomous environments in urban areas (312). The fourth hypothesis depicts how religion promotes collectivism; this occurs through tradition, conformity, in-group favoritism, and communal values. The last hypothesis states that individualism changes depend on socioeconomic factors.
What method(s) did the authors use to build support for their argument?
The study of cultural changes from individualism to collectivism and vice versa occurs through a focus on secondary sources. It occurs through a focus on the socio-ecological factors and endogenous components of individualism. In reference to endogenous components, the authors acquire information from sources with facts and figures on the issue. It explores unique versus common baby names, individual versus collectivist words in published books (313), and interpersonal structure (314). In reference to socio-ecological factors, the data acquired from various sources touches on infectious diseases, urbanization, disasters (314), secularism, and socioeconomic status (315).
An analysis of the information occurred in the R language for statistical computing. It facilitated the acquisition of numerical calculations for the various correlates of cultural change. The testing of the reliability of the results occurred through replication; this occurred with two new lists of collectivist and individualist words in previous studies (319).
What are the key conclusions and their implications?
Evidence from the study reveals a greater shift towards individualism. It shows that changes in socio-ecological factors such as disaster prevalence, the prevalence of infectious diseases, and secularism relate to individualism. The time-lagged analysis shows that SES changes precede changes in individualism (322). There was limited evidence proving the link between urbanization and the rise of individualism. The analysis on whether shifts in socio-ecological variables preceded changes in individualism measures did not facilitate unequivocal causal inference. The conclusion accentuates the need to consider the effects of other factors such as environmental complexity and technology use in the study. It also outlined the need to avoid generalizing the evidence to other cultural contexts; this is because the study focused on USA only.
Raise a question that you think is not fully, or satisfactorily, answered by the text.
The study does not provide conclusive information on the correlation between individualism and urbanization. It raises a need for subsequent studies in the USA and other urban areas worldwide.
Say, in a few lines only, how the paper confirms or contradicts your experience or common sense.
In my opinion, the rise of individualism in the American society is unavoidable. Initially, I attributed it to the rise in economic demand and cost of living. The paper gives a broader perspective in understanding the factors facilitating the rise of individualism and decline of collectivism in the American society. However, there is a need for additional studies on the issue. It will help in understanding the role of other factors such as class changes on individualism (Nauert, 2015).
GROSSMANN, I. & VARNUM, M. E. W. (2015) Social Structure, Infectious Diseases, Disasters, Secularism, and Cultural Change in America. Psychological Science. 26.3. p.311-324. [Online]. Available from: http://primo.uwindsor.ca/primo_library/libweb/action/dlSearch.do?institution=UWINDSOR&vid=UWINDSOR&query=facet_atoz%2cexact%2cA&indx=1&bulkSize=30&dym=false&loc=local%2cscope%3a%28AZUWINDSOR%29&fn=goAlmaAz&sortField=stitle&almaAzSearch=true&azSearch=true&. [Accessed: 8th April 2015].
NAUERT, R. (2015) Historically, Individualism Seen as Tied to Class Changes. PsychCentral. [Online]. Available from: http://psychcentral.com/news/2015/02/09/trend-for-non-conformity-and-individualism-began-in-19th-century/80996.html. [Accessed: 8th April 2015].
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