character, status, occupation

Culture, Viewpoints, Values

inside, individual, face

know, purpose, society


me, nationality, culture

name, value, belief

Nigerian, African, entrepreneur, pioneer

personal, family, cultural

potentially important; restrictive

self, character, personality

self, culture, family, perspective

self, me, confidence

self, personality, unique

theft, in, me

who i am

Appartenance, définition

appartenance, existence, similitude


carte, moi, origine

carte, photo, personne

cliché, statut, personnalité

État d’esprit, Actions, Groupe


Identifiant Personnel Différences

National, Personnel, Remarquable


nécessité, dévalorisée, fierté

Particularité, Officiel, Papier

personnalité, ego, caractère

Personnalité, Unique, être

Personnalité, Vision, Culture


by olney12, March 4, 2014, 11:02 AM
The fundamental construction of what is identity is similar in both of our societies. We both value the importance of the self, uniqueness, and genuine personality. Further, we both recognize that our definitions of personality are shaped by our cultures, families, nationalities, societies, and values; however, the french students had a broader take yet! I found it highly intriguing that a number of them listed words on the more “philosophical” side of identity: having a sense of belonging, stating that it is necessary and very particular, but also intertwined with one’s frame of mind. This leads me to believe that the concept of identity is not as forcefully ingrained into their minds as children in comparison to American kids. Perhaps the uniformity of American preaching of identity and other ideas leads to similar fundamental perspectives?


by mkitaoka, March 4, 2014, 3:04 PM
The most common word on the American side is “me” and “self” which is very self-centered! While identity is something that is self-centered, it’s interesting to see that only one person mentioned “moi” on the French side as opposed to the many American students who wrote “me” and/or “self”. Both sides had the common concept of personality, as well as the more general definition of identity, such as nationality. I was surprised to see that the French side had “histoire” because in America, our history is not something we particularly associate with ourselves. Perhaps the French put more emphasis on their history so people are proud to be French? Maybe Americans have lost sight of their history in recent generations.


by plefebvre91, March 4, 2014, 4:13 PM
Effectivement, en tant que français, nous ne sommes pas imprégnés par la notion d’identité dès notre plus jeune âge. Peut-être parce que nous pensons devoir la construire nous-même plutôt que simplement dire que c’est nous-même. Cela est en accord avec le fait que l’histoire a pour nous une importance : c’est ce que nous avons fait.
Une autre différence est l’apparition du côté français de “carte (d’identité)”, “papier”, pour nous l’identité c’est un peu ce que l’on dit de nous, comment l’on nous résume, classifie.
Vu la constante réponse “me” du côté américain, on peut peut-être penser que les américains se posent moins de questions sur eux-même. Peut-être parce qu’ils s’assument mieux ? Ou alors l’opposé, peut-être se remettent-ils moins en question ?


by jbrown138, March 6, 2014, 4:31 AM
I interpreted “histoire” as story – like one’s life story. I find the idea of intertwining the notions of one’s own life story with that of national or family history is rather amazing – very cultural, with deep root in, perhaps, pride. plefebvre, you bring up an excellent point in regards to how you as brought up to believe in independently making something of yourself. Here in the US, the notion of “being yourself” and being unique is instilled in us from a young age; however, society around us does a great deal to counter this learning. Our society shows us on a daily basis that there are standards in all aspects of life – success, love, beauty, intelligence, worthiness, and more. It is rather saddening that we, as Americans, are so quick to jump and associate “me” so very readily with identity when, in reality, our identities our actually lost in a sea of false beliefs of self-importance to be derived from our “unique identity”which I would argue, tends to be underdeveloped and defined by whatever society bestows upon us.


by mkitaoka, March 6, 2014, 7:37 AM
In the US, it is stressed from elementary school that you are an individual and that the world would be very boring if everyone were the same, so we had an easy time understanding that there’s something in us that makes us individual and unique and special. However, I don’t think that necessarily means that we face less questions about who we are as people. Knowing that you are a unique person from a young age is nice in that you know there is something in you, but a lot of Americans still face the question of “who am I, and what am I meant to do/be?”. Maybe I’m biased because of my undergraduate experience so far, but it seems almost as though we’re pressured to find out immediately who we really are as a human being, and yet, sometimes simple answers don’t seem to be enough of an explanation to show how unique and different you are. Every person, around the world, has to find who they are at some point, but I wonder if it’s less pressured in France?


by megania2014, March 6, 2014, 9:32 PM
The idea of your own personal history did show up on the American side a few times, I think, as “culture” or “cultural”. I think that especially because there are many Americans whose families immigrated to the US in the last couple generations, your personal family history can be a very large component of your identity. But it seems like there is less emphasis on history in general.


by jbrown138, March 7, 2014, 3:35 AM
Although we are imbued with the concept that “every single one of us is unique” from a very young age, I do not believe Americans think much about who they are. There is the stereotype that you sort of figure out in your 20s but it is not openly or continually dealt with. People do not seek to define themselves – which is fine. Certainly, most Americans shy away from any sort of philosophical treatises and existential quandaries because most of us do not feel such issues to be particularly pressing. Football and money tend to shadow such intellectual exercises. I know here in the US, philosophy is often only an elective – maybe a student will take a half year of it in high school or a semester of it in college but unlikely. In France. is it apart of your curriculum or introduced at an earlier age (either in school or semi-formally at home)?


by ahonorat, March 11, 2014,  3:45 PM
En fait nous n’étudions pas beaucoup la philosophie. Pour ceux qui sont dans le cycle normal (en lycée général) cela ne représente qu’un enseignement secondaire de la filière scientifique pendant 1 an (trois heures par semaine il me semble).
Ensuite nous avons deux heures par semaine durant les deux années (ou trois) des classes préparatoires scientifiques que beaucoup de notre école ont faites.
Cela n’est pas tant que ça je trouve. Je pense que cela vient plutôt d’un contexte général dans lequel nous nous posons toujours beaucoup de questions, et pas seulement philosophiques. En France en tout cas il y a toujours énormément de débats, notamment politiques. C’est aussi difficile de concilier les vieilles traditions et la modernité, ce que nous voudrions faire pourtant. Personnellement je suis autant périgourdin (de la ville de Périgueux), que français, qu’européen, qu’italien (par mes origines). Pour nous l’identité est quelque chose de tellement complexe que nous préférons je crois le réduire à quelque chose de simple : notre nom, prénom, photo et date de naissance sur une carte d’identité.


by mpeysale, April 5, 2014, 8:15 PM
@jbrown138 La plupart des étudiants en filière scientifique au lycée n’accordent que peu d’importance à la philosophie. Personnellement, j’ai eu un professeur de philo souvent absent, et ça ne m’a jamais dérangé…
Il s’agit d’une matière dont le coefficient au baccalauréat est très faible (3 fois moins que les mathématiques par exemple) et pour laquelle on n’a pas forcément la maturité nécessaire pour la suivre.