Western and non-Western Relationships

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Western and non-Western Relationships

Knowledge

Voluntary or non-voluntary relationships

> As many Western cultures have easy geographical & social mobility, we voluntarily interact with a large number of people on a daily basis, thus having a high degree of choice in romantic relationships & a greater 'pool' of potential relationships.

> Non-Western cultures have less geographical & social mobility, and thus people have less choice about who they interact with on a daily basis. Meeting a stranger is rare & relationships are usually tied to other factors (family/economic resources).

Individual or group-based relationships

> Western cultures place high importance on the rights & freedom of the individual, with individual happiness seen as fundamentally important. Such cultures are described as individualist due to their focus on the individual & not the group.

> In non-Western cultures, the group tends to be the primary unit of concern. Members of such collectivist cultures are encouraged to be interdependent rather than independent.

> MOGHADDAM ET AL. say the cultural attitudes of individualist cultures are consistent with the formation of romantic relationships that are based on freedom of choice, whereas collectivism leads to relationships that have more to do with the concerns of family.

The importance of love in romantic relationships

> The importance of love might be different between Western and non-Western cultures.

> LEVINE ET AL. investigated love as a basis for marriage in 11 countries, asking whether people would marry someone with marriage qualities who they didn't love. US = reluctant to marry (14%). India = (24%) & Thailand = (34%), suggesting they'd be more willing.

Cultural differences in loneliness

> Cultures that promote a strong desire for romantic relationships can greatly influence feelings of romantic loneliness in young people not involved in a romantic relationship.

> SEEPERSAD ET AL. suggested that young adults in Western cultures would experience a greater degree of loneliness due to a high desire for romantic relationships, compared to young adults from non-Western cultures.

> Seepersad et al's study revealed in a sample of 227 US & Korean students, US students reported higher levels of romantic loneliness than Koreans when they weren't in a relationship. Koreans relied more on family/Americans relied on friends/lovers.

Evaluation

Voluntary or non-voluntary relationships

Voluntary relationships aren't necessarily better -

> EPSTEIN suggests that in some societies…

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