Essay On American Culture. How Should We Start?
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The fact of lack of the American culture is often one of the strongest arguments from an anti-American people. Limitation and hopelessness of the American society is proved by that literally everything in the USA is focused on quick and "cheap" commercial success though some "cheap" Hollywood movies can be not so cheap.
Indeed - the USA is actually multinational country where all nationalities are integrated under a single abstract nationality - "American", that is the reference to the American citizenship. There is also a problem that in the absence of the State, the abstract nationality also immediately loses its meaning. When writing your American culture essay do not forget to mention this fact!
For an example we will consider ancient Byzantine Empire. The nationality "Byzantine" was just belonging to the State. After fall of Byzantium, this concept has immediately ceased to exist though the concept "Byzantine Culture" remained as concerning the Byzantine state. Similarly, the multinational historical community "the Soviet people" has immediately ceased to exist after the collapse of the USSR. The Soviet culture has been almost immediately thrown out after that in a garbage can. In a garbage can we may find now books which were considered as creativity top.
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Whether is "the American culture", which is an achievement of "clear Americans", different from a world famous stereotype? Let's assume that there is a certain person who has all close or far relatives Americans and, therefore, he has no private national priorities. On the other hand, as well as the majority in the world, it cannot accept fast-food culture focused only on commerce and fast success.
As the USA can be called in some way the whole world in one country, and the city of New York is even called the capital of the whole world, for identification of purely American culture we will consider whether there can be in general such culture which, nevertheless, wouldn't depend on the existing cultures of the world.
The possibility of existence of such independent culture exists actually only in the USA as in any other country the traditional national culture is predominant force and forces to serve it since the early childhood. Some separate elements of culture which have arisen many centuries ago are idolized and duplicated, actually repeating the same things, respectively without creating anything new.
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For identification of objective purely American culture, it is necessary to filter all manifestations of true national cultures, and also the fictitious commercial cultures serving not to "soul", but to a belly. Actually it represents a filtration of active signals of all radio stations at all frequencies and strengthening of "white noise", that is such signal which spectral density doesn't depend on frequency. From this point of view the concept of "purely American culture" in relation to other cultures can be presented as "white noise".
But what will remain if we look at unvarnished America and without culture of "a gold devil"? So expensive hotels and rich commercial offices fall behind. The television, radio, grandiose expensive and cheap supermarkets is switched off... Only loneliness remains, a hopelessness of the person in the face of the public car of commerce and a cult of material prosperity remains. And there are cheap motels on the highway, the cold and sad neon advertising BudLight at small restaurants, the people hiding from the world on gasoline stations and roadside cheap cafes...
The pure "biological field" or "the World of Little Prince" is resisting to the desert of the life surrounding him and commercial culture which has no relation to him. The world which surrounds Little Prince isn't hostile to him, but it is absolutely indifferent and cool. It turns out that in the conditions of "white noise" when all official society is focused on a gold devil, quite objective purely American national and independent culture appears in which "the pure spirit" is directly opposed to all society in general. Thus, in the conditions of the American society full perpendicularity of "spiritual" and "material" finds the highest manifestation.
Now, when the person appears outside of material society, among neon advertisings of shops on the cheap floor spaces between small towns or among someone else's cold fires of the big city where there is life which has no relation to the person, here and there is the most true real American culture which is obviously absolutely national independent and actually reflects dialectics of opposition of the "spiritual" and "material" beginning in the person. And this opposition is expressed in the purest view as it is theoretically possible in general.
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The American culture has begun to develop before the USA became the country. The British culture has exerted impact on its early formation, because of colonial communications with British which extended English, legal (lawful) system and others cultural inheritance. Also strong impact was exerted also by other European countries from which a large number of immigrants has come. There are Ireland, Germany, Poland, and Italy.
A certain contribution to cultural development of the USA was made by the people which are initially living in the territory of America (Indian tribes), and also ancestors of most of the Afro-Americans who have arrived from Africa.
The USA was traditionally known as mixture of cultures, but the recent academic opinion tends to cultural diversity, but not mixture. Within the American culture, there is a lot of adapted, but unique subcultures. That is the American culture is a set of various cultures.
Belonging of the person to a certain culture depends on a social class, political orientation, religion, race, an ethnic origin, sexual orientation.
At the same time there are general symbols of the American culture: apple pie, baseball and American flag.
Cultural education of Americans is so that they first of all think of the future. Most brightly it is shown in distribution of the income. The pension fund is on the first place. The pension fund defines their income after retirement.
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Depending on the income of a family if the income allows, then Americans save money for children's education.
If it is necessary to choose between education of children and the pension fund, the pension fund wins.
The other distinctive feature of the American culture is that after the end of education neither children, nor parents help to each other.
After leaving school most of children begin living separately from parents and lead an independent life.
Interesting feature of the American culture is that Americans try to maintain distance among themselves and the partners during the communication. This distance depends on that with whom they communicate:
- A short distance – about 45 cm (18 inches) - for family members, pets and very close friends.
- Personal distance - 1.2 - 1.5 meters (4 - 5 feet) - for friends and acquaintances. Handshake will hold strangers, at least, at distance 2 - 4 feet, keeping personal distance.
- The social distance - 1.2 - 3.7 meters (4 - 12 feet) - is used for formal, business interactions, like a meeting with the client.
Social class, maybe, exerts the greatest cultural influence on people in the USA. Almost all cultural relationship between people and behavior of the consumer in the USA are guided by location of the person within a social class of the country.
The American society is usually divided into three or five social and economic classes though new kinds of social classes appear as times go on. The social class is in general described as a combination of education, the income and professional prestige. However, there are any certain borders of a class and character of any limits of a class remains optional.
The income remains one of the main indicators of a class in America as it reflects the level of the received education and professional prestige. The income has significant effect on health as people with higher income can eat better and watch more qualitatively over the health.
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Food which people eat at home depends on the region of the country and family's cultural heritage. Recent immigrants eat food, similar with that they ate home and the Americanized versions of this foodstuff. Families which live already several generations in the USA eat some combination of it and food, usual for the region where they live.
We hope this article was really useful for writing essays on American culture. Of course, if you still have doubts about your own writing skills, you are always welcome to ask us for help!