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Cultural Relativism Essay Example

Cultural Relativism

Anthropologist, as they manage to study cultures of people, tend to first suspend their own cultural background in order to prevent themselves from making interpretations and judgment that is based on their own cultural breeding. It is the idea that each culture should be understood and interpreted and judge within the social behavior and norms itself. This method is what they call as cultural relativism, wherein a relativist believes and holds to the ideology that practices and beliefs are relative and dependent on every culture. Application of relativism is so important in gathering facts, as to present cultural differences of every society, groups, and race.  It is an advantage anyway to apply relativism in some points most especially when engaging in cross-cultural learning. A researcher or an anthropologist will react during cross-cultural studies as a blank table that will receive every information and facts presented by every culture. Hence, he stays in the position of being a fact finder of a particular social behavior and norms attempting to collect data on the “what” and “why” of a particular society. At this point, he will limit himself in only collecting what he can see, hear and get from respondents and research sources. Notably, it will be a prejudgement if one will not adopt the attitude of cultural relativism during cross-cultural studies. He can not get the facts if he fails to do so but his interpretations of the society which is, therefore, an idea of his own cultural breeding. If that happens, that is not relativism anymore but an ethnocentricism. During researches, what a researcher should do is to be broad-minded in understanding cultures. That might not be his own culture so it is important that the side of the people who value a particular culture should be introduced and clearly presented. However, though relativism in some points may be good in bringing out facts in particular studies of culture, there are still some instances wherein relativism could not be applied. There are practices and beliefs that some cultures pursue which are proven to be harmful to humans.

preview essay on Cultural Relativism
  • Pages: 3 (750 words)
  • Document Type: Essay
  • Subject: Religion and Theology
  • Level: Undergraduate
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