1. What is cultural relativism? How can it help anthropologists and others overc

by | Feb 1, 2022 | Anthropology | 0 comments

1. What is cultural relativism? How can it help anthropologists and others overcome their ethnocentric perspectives? Why is it an important approach within anthropology? How can it help with our understanding of practices that are different from our own? What are some of the limitations of the cultural relativist approach? When should anthropologists make critical assessments and become actively involved in changing a practice in order to help people within a society they are studying? For example, sometimes there are human rights abuses that occur within a society. How can you assess whether your judgments are valid and that what you see is a clear human rights violation or whether the practice is simply different and your reaction is due to your unfamiliarity with the practice? If you do intervene, what problems can you face and what would you do to convince people to agree with your perspective.
2. Consider the issues of baby seal hunting, female circumcision and cannibalism from the perspective of an anthropologist. How would an anthropologist learn about these practices using a cultural relativist approach? Address the following questions in your answer: How do people from inside the cultures (Newfoundland villagers, Sudanese villagers, the Fore and Wari) interpret these practices? What do the practices mean to the local inhabitants? Why do they engage in these practices? What are the social, personal, economic and spiritual meanings? What are the functions of these practices? What benefits to the local inhabitants see in them? Do all locals view them in the same way? What types of power dynamics and/or hierarchies may influence the practices? What types of resistance is there to the practices within the societies? How do you think outsiders – anthropologists, activists, visitors, tourists, etc – should react if they visit cultures with such practices? How would you react if invited to participate? Can you think of any similar practices that we have in the United States? How would you react if an outsider tried to get you to change one of your own traditions?

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