Community Collectivism: A social dynamic approach to conceptualizing culture

Birol Akkus*, Tom Postmes, Katherine Stroebe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
287 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Culture shapes individuals, but the measurement of cultural differences has proven a challenge. Traditional measures of cultural values focus on individual perceptions. We suggest that values are established and maintained within social communities of proximate others, such as the family and its social environment. Within such communities, values serve to maintain collective harmony whilst preserving individual agency. From a social-dynamic analysis of communities, we infer that community values of loyalty regulate individual commitment, values of honor regulate norm compliance, and values of group hierarchy maintain a division of labor. In addition, communities may regulate the ways in which individuals have independent agency. A new scale to measure these values was validated in four studies (N = 398, 112, 465 and 111) among Dutch (religious and non-religious), Turkish-Dutch, Surinamese and Turkish groups. Values and practices were measured at the level of the individual ('What do you value?') and at the level of the perceived community ('What does your community value?'). Results show that, unlike individual-level measures of individualism/ collectivism, this scale has excellent reliability, differentiates between cultural groups, and has predictive validity for future (voting) behavior. This approach provides a new way of conceptualizing culture, a new measure of collectivism and new insights into the role of proximate others in shaping culture.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0185725
Number of pages29
JournalPLoS ONE
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28-Sep-2017

Keywords

  • OF-FIT INDEXES
  • MEASUREMENT INVARIANCE
  • INDIVIDUALISM-COLLECTIVISM
  • DESCRIPTIVE NORMS
  • VALUES
  • SELF
  • SCALE
  • PSYCHOLOGY
  • AUTONOMY
  • REFLECT

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