NB: This post is not intended to spark cultural tensions but give cultural insight. Of course, surveys are not perfect measurements, but they can provide perspective. I’m just sharing an interesting article here for cultural awareness, not to criticize the US or France.
The French have a reputation for being quite chauvinistic, but my time living here has showed me that they are not any more arrogant than my fellow Americans. In fact, the recent Pew Research Center survey, called the “The American-Western European Values Gap”, reveals quite the contrary.
Responding to the statement “Our people are not perfect but our culture is superior to others”, only 27% of French think French culture is better than all others. For the US, that number was 49%.
What could this say about Americans? I think overall we are less informed about world events and different cultures than European nations, and it shows in the numbers. So I believe this attitude is based on lack of experience abroad and lack of cultural perspective. That’s just my opinion though, not Pew’s conclusions. What do you think?
Another interesting statistic is that in foreign affairs, there is more isolationism in the US than in France:
52% of Americans polled said the US “should deal with its own problems”, 39% said the US “should help other countries”.
For the French, these numbers were 57% and 43%, respectively.
Poll finds French not so chauvinistic after all
Published: 18 Nov 2011 10:15 GMT+1
France’s reputation for chauvinism took a hit on Thursday from an opinion poll that revealed that only 27 percent of its people think French culture is better than all others.
In fact, 73 percent of French respondents to the ongoing Pew Research Center survey of US and European attitudes disagreed that “our culture is superior to others,” the polling institute reported.
Forty-nine percent of Americans believed US culture was the best, even if “our people are not perfect,” followed by Germans at 47 percent, Spaniards at 44 percent and Britons at 32 percent.
But, when set against past surveys, it appears “Americans are now far less likely to say that their culture is better than others; six-in-ten Americans held this belief in 2002 and 55 percent did so in 2007,” the pollsters said.
“Belief in cultural superiority has declined among Americans across age, gender and education groups.”
Americans were most likely to consider freedom to pursue life’s goals is most important (58 percent), while Germans were most likely to view success in life as being determined “by forces outside our control” (72 percent).
Pew based its findings from random telephone interviews in March and April with about 1,000 respondents in each country (Britain, France, Germany, Spain and the United States) with 3.5-4.5 percent margins of error.
The entire survey appears on its website, www.pewglobal.org.
AFP (fr) (firstname.lastname@example.org)