Saturday, December 13, 2008

Collectivism: the new what and how?

Since last few days, I am in India enjoying the sunny weather. I am also working on a paper focusing on cross-cultural consumption. While referring to some literature for the consumption in India and the impact of culture, I came across the idea of 'collectivism' (also known as 'high context culture' or simply put 'strong societal bond'). India as a country is highly associated with the same, however, it seems that something different is happening all around me.

While walking on the roads of Ahmedabad, I observed something really interesting. I observed a tendency among people to take advantage of the situation in their favour without thinking about what harm will it cause to others. For example, I saw many drivers (especially on 2-wheelers) driving on the wrong side of the road and they hardly took any care of others including pedestrians. Honking was their ploy for making others aware but that was also used to intimidate (with the high decibel).

While talking to many young and elderly around, I found the strong feeling of using the situation to ones own advantage in many walks of life. I am unsure how to define this but it surely is far from collectivism.

I believe this is how culture evolves from one end to the other and the pendulum keeps swinging...