Collectivism can refer to any of a variety of descriptive or prescriptive theories about human social behavior. It is often situated at one extreme of a continuum in opposition to individualism. Individualism in the extreme is associated with self-interested behaviors, but more moderate forms of individualism can incorporate other-regarding behaviors. For example, Norman Care contrasts “separate-life individualism” from “shared-fate individualism,” indicating that the latter promotes an ethos of cooperation among individuals.

Collectivism, in contrast, does not make a strict distinction between self and other. Identity in a collectivist construct is inherently relational and does not put the self in conflict with society because the self essentially belongs to the social unit—most typically, the family. So in the names of persons in societies typically considered to be ...

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