Distinguishing Collectivism & Individualism

Collectivism vs Individualism

The distinction between collectivism and individualism lies in what each ideology prioritizes as important: the individual or the group. These concepts can simplify the understanding and differentiation between various political ideologies. Collectivism and individualism are self-explanatory terms.

What is Collectivism?

Collectivism places a group, rather than an individual, at the center of all social, political, and economic concerns and issues. Proponents of this ideology assert that the interests and claims of groups (including states) surpass those of individuals, with society as a whole being considered superior to an individual. Collectivism supports the subjugation of the individual to a group, such as a family, tribe, society, party, or state, with the individual expected to sacrifice for the collective good. Advocates of collectivism consider their stance to be morally superior, as they focus on the collective good of the group or society.

What is Individualism?

Individualism prioritizes the individual in all aspects of thinking. In terms of political ideologies, classical liberalism aligns closely with this idea, as the individual human being is considered the central unit of analysis. While individualists still exist within a society, they focus on their personal interests. This doctrine holds that society is composed of individuals who choose and act, with the foundation of individualism lying in one’s moral right to pursue happiness. Individualism does not necessarily contradict collectivism, as it also believes in preserving and defending institutions created to protect one’s right to pursue happiness.

Key Takeaways

  • Individualism is an ideology that prioritizes the individual over the group.
  • Collectivism is an ideology that prioritizes the group over the individuals that form the group.
  • Individualism and collectivism can coexist, as both can contribute to the protection and pursuit of happiness within a society.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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