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Historia
11-17-2015, 02:35 PM
So, my husband and I were having a discussion this weekend about culture. He (and my sister) believe that there isn't really an American culture. Though they both agree with regional (like Midwestern) cultures within the U.S.

What do you all think? I think there is a general/unifying American culture, though obviously it has some variations throughout the U.S. Or am I wrong and we really don't have any American culture that holds all of the regions/states together?

Also, you don't have to be American or living in the U.S. to answer this. Perceptions of non-U.S. people might be interesting.

blythe_ann
11-17-2015, 03:12 PM
I think there are a few "American" things... like, you know, apple pie, lol.
I think the subcultures are more obvious to us in America, though I would be interested to see what people outside of the US think of us all "in general".
I'm from the midwest and I totally see that as a cultural area different than the coasts.

This is an interesting topic but I obviously don't have a lot of intelligent things to say about it :)

snooch
11-17-2015, 03:39 PM
I've lived on two coasts and in between, and I do think there is a unifying American culture. I think some things, although there are counter-culture exceptions, are extremely typical for America: freedom of speech, civil rights, respect for the flag, etc. There are some things that typify Americans, like baseball and apple pie, classic rock, and consumerism.

There are definitely regional cultures though, and I think those are more significant to day to day life. The laid-back, appearance-driven, surfer/beach culture of Southern California for example - that's not something you see in the midwest, or even east coast beach towns, but it's very much a defining culture of the region.

mina
11-17-2015, 04:55 PM
America is too diverse for a single unifying culture. I do think there are regional and generational cultures. I do think that maybe pre wwII or even up until the 50s there was a common American culture in some things..... it makes me think of Norman Rockwell paintings. There were similar traditions that made people think of home. Possibly because ofWWII, so the boys over "there" would know what they were fighting for, coming home to, etc... I think there are nostalgic under currents of that today that do tie Americans together. It's complicated.

DIANAC
11-17-2015, 05:50 PM
I as an immigrant, certainly see unquestionable American culture that unites all the states.
I compare US to the former USSR where I came from. It consisted of 15 countries - Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Eastern Europe Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova and obviously Russia. Each one had it's own unique culture, language (!) and very unique traditions. However, they were united under the Soviet Communist culture by their ideology, official holidays, sports (european football !), education system, school curriculum, business practices, etc.
States in US are not that diverse but each one does indeed have it's own unique "flavor". But, we all celebrate Thanksgiving and July 4th!

Christina
11-17-2015, 06:25 PM
I agree...there are some things that are most definitely American that are pretty much across the board in terms of culture.

Having visited Australia 4 times and stayed a month each time, it became more obvious to me just how "American" I am.

Things that I consider to be "American" are things such as country music, certain foods (Apple pie, S'mores, etc), gun freedom, certain holidays (Thanksgiving, 4th of July, Labor Day, Memorial Day), and a few other things.

Of course there are subcultures as noted by the others. Living in the East Coast I can tell you that it is different here than it is anywhere else. I have visited several states and each state is quite different from here. Even Maine has its own subculture lol. People in Maine on the coast tend to enjoy fish and chips, clam chowder, upscale (but still rustic) beach houses, photography, and a generally rustic way of living. People on inland Maine are definitely more of the rustic, log-cabin type of people who enjoy a much simpler way of life. Vermonters also are very simple in their way of life for the most part. There are no billboards here, and some would think we are many years behind the times because we have few chain stores and so much rural area with no cell phone service :D New Hampshire is a bit more...hmm...I don't want to use the word up-scale but a little more put together. Still very very liberal, as are all states in New England. Up here, this tends to be a rural, rustic and liberal area to live in with a focus on natural beauty and natural elements.

Down in the south, I find the culture to be more focused on presentation, FOOD (lol), a slightly more relaxed way of life and a diversity in ethnicity. The Midwest is...the midwest. There's not a lot I know about it but it's profoundly different than here. The west coast seems to have several subcultures as well. And Texas is its own thing all by itself lol...think rodeos, country music, and burgers on the grill with a beer or two at the end of a long night on the ranch.

I enjoy the diversity, and I believe it's an important part of what America/The U.S. is. There are some things that are very much simply American, but there are probably a good number of subcultures for each reason, some of which have been influenced by foreign cultures, others of which have been influenced by the demographics and the layout and weather in the area.

katzankatz
11-17-2015, 09:46 PM
American culture could probably be best defined by its countless subcultures. A person visiting the U.S. who only visits New York or California or Arizona or West Virginia or (fill in the blank) would only experience the cultures of those places.

But I think there is a degree of unity among us no matter where we're from - we're all Americans. Each time I've left the country on a trip and then come home, no matter the point of entry I feel like I'm "home sweet home". I might be 1000 miles from where I actually live, but home is America to me.

Virginia
11-17-2015, 10:15 PM
One of the most pervasive aspects of American culture I've experienced is the idea of the American Dream. People can come to America and find success, as long as they work hard.