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Cultural Relativism

Kazmarov

For a Free Scotland
Do you believe that one culture can be superior to another, or do you believe that the terms 'civilized' and 'savage' have little or no real meaning?
 

Jeanie

still nobody's bitch
V.I.P.
I minored in Anthropology and I always wished I had majored in it and done some field work.

It would be nice if everyone could step outside the bounds of ethnocentrism and evaluate peoples' beliefs and behaviors within the context of their own culture. I think it would solve a good number of the world's problems.
 

Bjarki

Registered Member
Do you believe that one culture can be superior to another, or do you believe that the terms 'civilized' and 'savage' have little or no real meaning?
I believe that some cultures are more civilized than others. Whether that makes them superior or not.. is an entirely different question.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
I believe that some cultures are more civilized than others. Whether that makes them superior or not.. is an entirely different question.
I feel the same way. Although there would always be this part of us that would compare and rank a culture as better, therefore superior, based on our own cultural criteria.

I minored in Anthropology and I always wished I had majored in it and done some field work.

It would be nice if everyone could step outside the bounds of ethnocentrism and evaluate peoples' beliefs and behaviors within the context of their own culture. I think it would solve a good number of the world's problems.
I have done fieldwork. It's an eye opener. Ideally, we would have a better understanding of the culture with that. Malinowski thinks it's something that would "cure" enthnocentrism. I can't help but think though that even with fieldwork, we face the issue of changing how things are simply by observing them. My team was welcomed and our questions answered but I know we are seen by others as visitors no matter how many days we lived with them or as they do. They probably have changed some aspects of their routine because of the feeling they were being observed. We also have a different set of common sense that make us interpret things differently from people who have grown up with a different set of sense. But yes, having an understanding of things from the context of another culture changed the way I view different set of beliefs and behaviors.
 

SuiGeneris

blue 3
I have done fieldwork. It's an eye opener. Ideally, we would have a better understanding of the culture with that. Malinowski thinks it's something that would "cure" enthnocentrism. I can't help but think though that even with fieldwork, we face the issue of changing how things are simply by observing them. My team was welcomed and our questions answered but I know we are seen by others as visitors no matter how many days we lived with them or as they do. They probably have changed some aspects of their routine because of the feeling they were being observed. We also have a different set of common sense that make us interpret things differently from people who have grown up with a different set of sense. But yes, having an understanding of things from the context of another culture changed the way I view different set of beliefs and behaviors.
I think that is a really good point. Once you let a group know that you are observing them there is a very high chance of altering their true routine. It's also quite hard for one culture to study another, especially if they differ radically. We are born and bred to think and act a certain way, which means we evaluate using the "glasses" our culture bought for us. The difficulty of "curing" ethnocentrism is just that. A culture (as an entity) creates those "glasses" for us to look through, so one has to (to even a minor extent) disgard part of their own culture to truly identify, study and evaluate another culture.

That being said, I personally don't think one culture is more "superior." Terms such a superior, better, ethical, moral; they are all relative to the person judging. Do I believe there are cultures out there that suit me better than others, of course. Does that make them superior? Maybe to me, that doesn't make it truly superior beyound my own opinion and application.
 
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