This paper discusses the importance of cultural relativism in anthropology. Relativism of culture refers to a scenario where what is considered to be ethical in one community, may be viewed unethical and unacceptable in another. With this understanding, one should not relate arrogantly with people from another cultural background because of their behavior…
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Anthropology is a field of study that entails research on human being’s behavior. Culture main determine individual’s conduct. Therefore, studying human behavior cannot be comprehensive without factoring in the cultural aspect. Many other disciplines on study of human behavior have however failed to fully consider culture as primary factor determining human behavior. Scientist researchers assumed that human behavior is majorly linked to biological factors and not culture.
Early in 19th century, it was realized that none of the cultures was better than another. It was now believed that cultures are just different with none being superior to another. It was then, that anthropology discipline embraced cultural relativism as a key tool. Relativism argument contributed greatly to anthropology growth. It has contributed essentially in history of anthropology. Anthropologists employ cultural relativism argument that acknowledges existence of distinctive cultural values by different groups of people. In anthropology, no condemnation should be made based on the cultural differences. Cultural relativism does not allow any form of condemnation regarding immoral tendencies (Sikka 43-93). A cultural relativity does not respond enough to ethical issues that need to be addressed. In reality, some of ethical practices like torture cannot be tolerated. Therefore, anthropologists should not just allow such malpractices be carried on and not respond accordingly. Today, there are critics about suitability of relativism application in anthropology. However, anthropologists still hold strongly to the fact that in reality, culture influences human behavior. Anthropology pays much attention to the interpretation of data than it is with scientific disciplines that focus mainly on giving explanations. There have been divisions in the whole anthropology field based on different opinions about the place of culture in human behavior. Some endorse scientific procedures to be used in research to provide an explanation in human behavior. In their argument, they assume that evolution contributes to human behavior. On the other hand, other anthropologists hold that culture plays a major role in shaping people’s behavior. They still value relativism in human behavior study. Most anthropologists are reluctant in protecting rights of human beings. Anthropologists should not use relativism of culture as an excuse for not protecting the rights of people. They should be in forefront in ensuring cultural practices that violate other people’s rights are banned. Cultural practices should be broken when protecting people’s rights. Relativism contributed enormously in the discipline of social science. However, there have been numerous critics disapproving the essence of relativism in social sciences. Many people including anthropologists take this argument to be not relativistic. Cultural relativism objects theories that do not provide appropriate framework that provides analyses for data from different cultures. Relativism theory upholds that in examining human thoughts and action, the process should be relativistic not particularistic. Particularistic approach only embrace single framework in analyzing set of data. In studying human behavior, this method should be discarded in
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The Government of Haiti gave an official report of the death toll estimated to be 316,000 people. Further, government reports proved that more than three hundred thousand people had sustained serious injuries and more than one million people left homeless.
Cultural relativism is related to a natural theory of evolution that views the cultural and linguistic diversity of human civilization globally as related to unique aspects of geographical isolation and parallel development.
Thus, this paper explains the major uses or importance of anthropology in the past, present, and future. Anthropology is the full history of humanity as driven and imparted by the concept of evolution. Anthropology tries to make sense of humankind at all recognised periods.
First, I believe it is nothing more than a living, breathing fallacy of popular appeal. An example of this, used in the text, is slavery. Because the majority of the South believed it was a moral and decent practice, slavery continued to flourish. According to the theory of cultural relativism, slavery was moral because it was acceptable-until it became outlawed.
Born in Poland in 1884, Malinowski made vital anthropological discoveries either side of the Great War. When the dust settled after the war and the academe came to normalcy, he published his classic work Argonauts of the Western Pacific, which had garnered him acclaim from the professional niche as well as the general public.
All cultures are also entitled to their own believes, in addition to having equal value. Cultural relativism as a concept also explains why it is right for a particular society to do something while it is morally wrong for another society to do the same thing.
Just as is the case with many things, cultural relativism can have downsides to it as well as any positives it may have. Relating such details learned to the extent that the observers theoretical view is blurred by the inability to differentiate by that which is good as it comes to cultural practice, or those practices that to the larger extent are in fact not good to begin with.
According to Nkeonye (1994), relative definition of cultural relativism dictates that it’s a philosophical doctrine which informs us that all proper moral standards are derived from culture; a definition echoed among publications associated with the subject. Whereas
However, these meaning differs from the Rachel’s understanding of the cultural relativity. To him, he views the cultural relativity as an attitude of objectivity towards another culture.
The major believes of the cultural relativism is not a single doctrine but
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