1 - Cultural Tolerance Ethnocentrism can be thought of as...

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Cultural Tolerance Ethnocentrism can be thought of as the main force behind any individual’s ‘encounters with otherness.’ If one person encounters otherness, the implications are that the person is having an experience that he or she has not been exposed to previously. When someone crosses paths with otherness they are experiencing something outside of their sphere of influence. The concept of ethnocentrism describes how an individual understands only what is within their sphere of influence. Laura Bohannan encountered otherness when she tried to prove the “universal” themes of Hamlet . Her encounter with otherness came in the form of being unable to prove the universality of Shakespeare’s famous text. Bohannan’s frustration and trouble was derived from her ethnocentric views that Hamlet was, in fact, universally understood. In reading Kratz’s article on female circumcision, there is evidence that ethnocentrism can cause people to interfere with cultural practices of certain groups of people. When immigrants in the U.S. attempt to practice their cultural traditions, specifically female circumcision, people from the U.S. sometimes believe that they should stop these immigrants from performing what they interpret as mutilation. Certain groups of people must learn to allow practices of other people rather than oppose. Encountering otherness for Laura Bohannan was troubling and difficult to deal with because she believed that Shakespeare’s Hamlet could be understood, with a little bit of explanation here and there, anywhere. Evidently, Bohannan became a victim of ethnocentrism.
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This note was uploaded on 06/17/2008 for the course ANTH 1 taught by Professor Urcid during the Spring '07 term at Brandeis.

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1 - Cultural Tolerance Ethnocentrism can be thought of as...

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