american, collectivism
capitalism, style,
capitalism, style,
correct, freedom
decisions, strength
empowering, me
Expression, Freedom of speech
freedom, expression, unique
good, quality
hard working
imaginary, happy
independence, strenght, different
liberalism, confidence
necessary, solitude
personality, independence, flair
self, independence, unique, true to oneself
teenager, relationships
unique, self-righteous
uniqueness, self, independence

compétition, assurance
égoisme ,indépendant
egoisme, etroitesse de point de vue, ambition immodérée
égoisme, soi-même
égoisme, suffisant
égoisme; libéralisme
société de consommation
égoisme, Etats-Unis


Je suis un peu choquée par les réponses françaises au mot individualisme. Le thème dominant est l'égoïsme, quelque chose de très négatif. De plus, il y a l'image d'isolation, comme si quand on est un individuel, on est seul. De l'autre côté, les Américains expriment des idées de libertéet d'expression de soi. Je crois que, aux Etats-Unis, le sens d'individualisme est enraciné dans le libéralisme -- que beaucoup de gens différents peuvent coexister contentement. Je demande aux étudiants français¬: Pourquoi est-ce que le mot individualisme crée des associations si négatives? Est-ce que c'est considéréplus respectable de conformer?

I was surprised by the same thing as Darin. But I do not think that the French are conformists and do not believe in self-expression. In fact, French history can be seen as a battle for individual rights, for liberty. And people like Voltaire and Descartes certainly were not conformists. I think that perhaps "idividualism" and "individualisme" mean slightly different things in French and in English and that there is a different French word which is the more precise equivalent of the English "individualism." I know that in Ukrainian and Russian, for example, that is exactly the case.

I think the word associations here reflect a difference in the meaning of the words, rather than a difference in the perception of the role of the individual (although such a difference might exist). If the english word presented was "Egoism" instead of "individualism", I would expect the american students to associate negative words. Are there any French words that might be a closer match in meaning to the word "individualism"? Also, one French student said the word "ambition" and one said "pouvoir" these words have a positive or a negative connotation in this context? -Steve

Natalia je suis d'autant plus d'accord avec toi que je parle russe et qu' il est vrai que le sns du mot individualisme est assez vague en français.

I believe that the issue is not about conforming. There is a clear misunderstanding/difference in the way that perhaps french students (and me) define the word individualism. Instead of a meaning able to have ones on beliefs or identity, I feel that individualism connotes doing things that benefit solely you, and not looking out for the good of the group as a whole. Since I think that is the definition of it when it comes to socio-political theory, I believe that is why many of the french students might have associated selfishness with it. Moreover, in this country individualism is more redily found in conservative thinking, not liberal.

Hey Sophia, this is kind of off topic, but I found your last sentense interesting. I never really thought about that -- that individualism is found more among conservatives than liberals in America. I guess in some cases that's true, since conservatives want smaller government, less restrictions on things like gun rights, and in general less interference in personal lifestyle choices. But on the other hand, conservatives are less inclined to attempt to change existing laws, and social rules and norms (look at the 60s and 70s). They are less likely to stand out and to be "different." In those ways they are more conformist, no?

As you answered in french i reply in English. For French people success is deeply linked to work in groups. It is thought to be harder to achieve a great purpose if our aim is only a personnal success. It is said to be selfish not to include the other in one must share one's success.

Je n'ai pas bien compris le sens de ta question "Est-ce que c'est considéré plus respectable de conformer ?". Par contre, je voudrais te confirmer le fait que l'individualisme a une très mauvaise image en France, en particulier dans une école de commerce où on prône l'ouverture aux autres, le travail en groupe, etc. L'individualisme est aussi associé à l'égocentrisme et à l'égoisme comme tu dis.