TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Is enculturation is a good thing or a bad thing in terms of individuality and freedom of expression?

I am a student in a grad school in New York City and recently came across the concept of Enculturation. Coming from India, a country that is rich in culture and has strictly defined 'rules' in society in terms of acceptable behavior and habits I was forced to question if enculturation has more positive or negative impact on a individual when it comes down to developing a sense of individuality and freedom to express opinions.

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Oct 25 2013: Ideally, shouldn't culture be something that helps an individual and a community grow?

    I agree that there are some cultures that have strict penalties for not adhering to social norms but in such situations, it is very important to voice your opinion or disagreement before it threatens your individuality. It shouldn't reach a point where it harms your own self. It is not as easy as it sounds. It is difficult to disagree with a rule that has been set through years. So I believe this practice should start from the smallest unit of a society- a family.

    Teach your children the right to independant thinking. Be their friends and guides and allow them to be themselves. This will make them feel responsible for their own actions. Your relationship with them will also be stronger since there will be a strong sense of trust. When they feel confident to share their opinions with you, they will be more free and open. That is the kind of environment we need to be creative and to grow, as an individual and as a society.
    • thumb
      Oct 25 2013: Within cultures that embrace and encourage individuality and expression of divergent views, what you describe is entirely the norm.

      It will be interesting if someone who considers his cultural milieu to be highly rule-bound or focused on the collective good shares a different point of view than the common one you articulate. I know some people believe that the level of focus some societies have on the individual is very unhealthy.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.