The emergence of a global culture in the modern society implies that the world may head towards a common cultural perspective. However, the modern society still remains different due to the cultural differences that are peculiar to a country. In addition, cultural integration and diffusion has brought into place a common culture in the world, but cultures tend to differ. This research proposal identifies the cultural differences between Russia and the United States.
Culture is the people’s way of life, and it presents the norms, values, personalities, and societal standards that people in a country embrace. There are several differences between the United States and Russia often emanate from their social, economic and cultural differences. Both Russia and the United States are countries that are continental, expansive, and multiethnic, possess expansive powers and have settlers of diverse cultures. The two countries are large and see themselves as innovative and energetic.
The cultural differences between Russians and Americans emanate from the influence of communalism, the authority in Russia and the United States and where the authority originates. The religion and the general characters of the Russians and the Americans also determine of how they view change, time, and place of women in society explain the cultural differences. The characteristics are in terms of hospitality, equality, and openness.
The paper will use three key sources that explain the differences between the Russian and American cultures. They are Duane Goehner and Yale Richmond’s Russian/ American Cultural Contrasts, Natalia Kozyakova’s Differences between my Culture and the US with Regard to Nonverbal Behavior and Olga Zatsepina and Julio Rodriguez’s American Values through Russian Eyes.
This research paper is in the stage of final collection of the relevant literature that demonstrates the key differences between Russian and American cultures.
Source Summary Information
Summary of Duane Goehner and Yale Richmond’s “Russian/ American Cultural Contrasts”.
The authors give an analysis between the key differences in the cultures. They highlight the differences in the authority in Russia as it flows down from the government to the people and remains centralized. In America, authority diffuses from people and flows up (Goehner and Richmond paragraph 3). The change in the American society is individual and comes from people. In the Russian culture, change is imposed from above. People also tend to celebrate rights and protect them in the American society unlike in Russian community where people subordinate rights for communal good. In the Russian context, views emanate from consensus, which leads to the creation of single truths. The Russian cultural roots come from Europe and Asia while the American culture largely borrows from Western Europe. In addition, the American society has a strong middle class that is influential in all cultural perspectives unlike the Russian society.
Communalism is another phenomenon that distinguishes American and Russian culture. Communal spirit, closeness and togetherness of Russians are different from what is in America. In America, the societies’ identities come from individualism and competitiveness, and they have a significant role in society. Russian history lays foundation on the “communal villages” in which land was societal and the assembly of the heads of households made decisions in such set up. This was high during the periods of communalism (Goehner and Richmond paragraph 6). Americans have an inclination towards individual preferences due to the orientation of a free market economy. The other influence the authors give is religion. The Russian Orthodoxy heritage determines religion in Russia and covers all forms of Russian ethnicity, nationalism and culture. This explains why changes in dogma are highly intolerable in Russia. Russian sense of community has its roots in Orthodoxy. The American society does not have a state religion. Thus, this explains the pluralism of beliefs and tolerates different views of people. The American society welcomes diverse views, and those views remain respected unlike the Russian society in which there is little room for pluralism of beliefs. In the American society, religion and ideologies are two different things and form different state of affairs unlike in Russia where they play a vital role. It also talks about the characters of Russians and Americans.In Russia, egalitarianism calls for the removal of inequalities between people, and people must respect authority. Russians still view entrepreneurial activities as illegitimate unlike Americans who see them as opportunities to generate money. Pessimism among Russians explains why they expect things to go wrong and are not easily upset by the poor performance from situations. This explains why Russians are resilient and endure many misfortunes.
Summary of Zatsepina, Olga and Julio Rodriguez. "American Values Through Russian Eyes”
This is the source that this paper will rely on. It gives detailed analysis of the key differences. The authors indicate that Russians consider religion as highly personal unlike Americans who discuss a person’s religion history. Americans also value materialism, but they do not value religion (Zatsepina and Rodriguez). Americans are “members of a congregation” and may be a part of different religions in different states.
It explains why Russians are defenders of the status quo and are likely to be conservative and cautious. This has made Russians value security, stability, social order, and risk avoidance. Americans are risk takers and view risks as opportunities. Americans are happy and believe that the returns may be positive, but they may become upset if things work out poor and are less resilient as compared to the Americans. Thus, Americans are “optimistic and often tend to avoid misfortunes”. They evaluate positive changes and have an inclination towards the future, and they do not focus on less significant news (Zatsepina and Rodriguez).
Russians tend to be “male-chauvinistic” and do not view women as indispensable in the development of the society. On the other hand, the American women have a high role in the society and hold recognized responsibilities unlike the Russian women (Zatsepina and Rodriguez). Russians are hospitable, and they know the true meaning of hospitality. They welcome people and easily socialize with them. In addition, Russians tend to value people more than other things. This explains why Russians place less emphasis on time than Americans do. Informality among Americans also explains how foreigners view them. While Americans say ‘I am sorry’ and thank people more than once, Russians view this as a weakness, and they cannot trust people with such behavior. Russians believe that one should thank a person once. It also indicates that Americans are direct, open, and they give honest opinions about things unlike Russians who view this as insensitivity. Russians care about what other people feel if they give them news that is not pleasant. Russians avoid the direct approach to situations. Practicality and efficiency are the values that Americans value. Thus, value in America is something that is valuable. Thus, Americans focus on making money out of every situation. Russians, on the other hand, will make money as much as they can, but this does not form value to them. Americans and Russians value things differently (Zatsepina and Rodriguez paragraph 5).
Americans believe that change is irrefutably a favorable condition. They believe that change has a positive link to development, progress, improvement and growth. However, Russians fight change with uncertainty and view it as dangerous thereby making change an undesirable event. Thus, Russians have little value on change unlike Americans who place high value on change. Americans value time and are time-conscious. They plan and have schedules for their activities unlike Russians who see plans as an imposition. Americans focus on achieving tasks on time. Russians often see plans for future activities as being less valuable (Zatsepina and Rodriguez). This also explains why Russians are less optimistic about the future unlike Americans.
Summary of Natalia Kozyakova’s "Differences between my Culture and the US with Regard to Nonverbal Behavior”
This is the third source that gives the the views of a student about the differences between Russian and American cultures. Russians often focus on the present and value their past. On the other hand, Americans have an orientation towards the future (Kozyakova). The paper offers an analysis of the cultural differences in terms of nonverbal behavior. The author also indicates the perception of time between Americans is different. Individualism and privacy in Russians is not a part of their vocabulary. Russians value collectivism and are unselfish. This comes from the influence of communism on their lives. Americans value individualism and this makes them more materialistic unlike Russians. Russians view individualism as being analogous to selfishness. The possible bias in this paper is the fact that it uses the views of Russian students to explain key cultural differences. One key deficiency in this paper is that it focuses on a student’s view and may have bias.
The difference in the culture between Americans and Russians emanates from how they view life and the value that they place on things. This is in terms of differences in the perception of time, religion and its role on people, individualism, communication, privacy, and cultural pluralism. The paper by Olga Zatsepina and Julio Rodriguez’s “American Values Through Russian Eyes” will be more useful in this research.