What means Tall Poppy Syndrome (TPS)?
“Tall poppy syndrome” is a term used to describe a cultural phenomenon in which people who are perceived to be too successful, accomplished or prominent are criticized, resented or even attacked by others, in order to bring them down to size and maintain a sense of social equality. The term is often used in Australia and New Zealand, but the phenomenon is observed in many cultures around the world.
The metaphor of the tall poppy refers to a field of poppies, where the tallest ones are more visible and thus more vulnerable to being cut down. Similarly, people who stand out in a crowd or achieve a high level of success may become targets of envy or hostility from others who feel that their own achievements are not being recognized or rewarded.
Tall poppy syndrome can take many forms, ranging from mild teasing or snarky comments to more serious forms of social exclusion, bullying, or sabotage. It can also be expressed in more subtle ways, such as through gossip, backstabbing, or spreading rumors.
Some sociologists argue that tall poppy syndrome is rooted in a deep-seated cultural value of egalitarianism, which emphasizes the importance of treating everyone as equal and not allowing anyone to become too powerful or dominant. In societies that place a high value on egalitarianism, people who stand out too much may be seen as a threat to social harmony and cohesion, and may be targeted as a way of maintaining the status quo.
At the same time, some critics argue that tall poppy syndrome can have negative consequences for social progress and innovation, by discouraging people from striving for excellence and stifling creativity and individuality. They argue that in order to foster a culture of innovation and creativity, it is important to recognize and reward excellence, even if it means that some people will stand out as tall poppies.
In a nutshell: TPS or tall poppy syndrome is a complex and multifaceted phenomenon that reflects both the positive value of egalitarianism and the negative consequences of envy and resentment. As a sociological concept, it highlights the ways in which cultural values and norms can shape the way we view and treat success and achievement, and the complex interplay between individual ambition and social cohesion.
More here soon as not really common in Europe …
Palmer (Greens) and Wagenknecht (Die Linke) are very good examples.
In every system like Unis and schools and army and police an epic symptom that has been studied and become a syndrome!
Often referred to Bullying …. Which is not the same!
Bullying and Tall Poppy Syndrome are two distinct concepts that involve different behaviors and dynamics. Here are the key differences between the two in short:
- Nature of Behavior: Bullying involves repeated aggressive or harmful behavior towards a person who is perceived as vulnerable or weaker. It typically involves intentional harm, coercion, or intimidation to assert power or control over someone. On the other hand, Tall Poppy Syndrome is a social phenomenon in which people criticize or undermine those who are perceived as more successful, accomplished, or prominent. It is characterized by a tendency to bring down or discourage those who stand out or excel in some way.
- Target and Motivation: In bullying, the target is usually an individual who is singled out for mistreatment based on various factors such as physical appearance, social status, or personal characteristics. The motive behind bullying is often to assert dominance, gain power, or derive pleasure from causing harm to others. In Tall Poppy Syndrome, the target is someone who is achieving or succeeding beyond the perceived norm or average. The motivation behind Tall Poppy Syndrome is often rooted in envy, resentment, or a desire to maintain a level of conformity within a group.
- Power Dynamics: Bullying typically involves an imbalance of power, with the bully exerting control over the target through physical, verbal, or emotional means. The target may feel helpless or unable to defend themselves against the bully. In contrast, Tall Poppy Syndrome does not necessarily involve a power imbalance in the same way. It is more about social pressure or criticism from peers or the broader society towards those who are perceived as standing out or being too successful.
- Impact and Consequences: Bullying can have severe and long-lasting consequences for the target, including emotional distress, social isolation, decreased self-esteem, and even physical harm. It is generally seen as a harmful and negative behavior that should be addressed and prevented. Tall Poppy Syndrome, while it can create negative feelings and discourage individuals, is often seen as a cultural or societal phenomenon rather than direct personal aggression. It can discourage people from pursuing their goals or being open about their achievements, but the impact may vary depending on personal resilience and coping strategies.
In summary, bullying involves repeated harmful behavior towards a perceived vulnerable individual, driven by a power imbalance and intended to cause harm. Tall Poppy Syndrome, on the other hand, is a cultural tendency to criticize or bring down those who stand out or excel, driven by envy or a desire to maintain conformity. While both behaviors can have negative effects, they differ in their nature, target, motivation, and power dynamics.
Language And Culture
The relationship between language and culture is a complex and multifaceted one. Language and culture are interdependent and influence each other in many ways. Here are some details about this relationship:
- Language reflects culture: Language is a reflection of the culture that it represents. Every culture has its unique way of expressing ideas, concepts, and emotions. Language reflects this by having words, idioms, and expressions that are specific to that culture. For example, the Inuit language has many words for snow, reflecting the importance of snow in their culture.
- Language shapes culture: Language has the power to shape and influence culture. The words we use can influence the way we think and perceive the world around us. For example, the English language has many words for different shades of blue, which has been shown to affect the way English speakers perceive and remember colors.
- Language and culture are learned together: Language and culture are learned together from a young age. Children learn not only the vocabulary and grammar of their language but also the cultural norms, values, and beliefs that are embedded in it.
- Language and culture affect communication: The culture and language of a speaker can affect the way they communicate with others. The use of nonverbal cues, such as eye contact, gestures, and facial expressions, can vary across cultures. The use of politeness, directness, and tone can also vary.
- Language and culture can create barriers: Differences in language and culture can create barriers to communication. These barriers can lead to misunderstandings, misinterpretations, and even conflicts. To overcome these barriers, it is essential to develop intercultural communication skills.
Updated on Thu 18 May 2023
By Author #phb
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Updated by Author Peter H Bloecker on Sun 10 Dec 2023