OCT2631N - cultural relativism= seek to understand other...

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cultural relativism= seek to understand other cultural practices bases on the othere cultures terms and internal rules…. .try to understand each culture on its own term, rather than judge it bases on our own culture….easier said than done and if done may be morally problematic (based on our culture). .ex: slavery, female circumcision, arranged marriages, suttee… what is culture? Brain has been shapes by natural selection to solve frewuent ocurrin problems Many behavioral patterns are based on decisions by many individuals Behavior should be adaptive and responsive to local constraints Doff ecologoes should lead to diff behavioral complexes and sim ecologies to sim behaviors Social constraints may be more important than environmental constraints **Culture is continuously changing What is culture? The brain has been shaped by natural selection to solve frequently occurring problems Many behavioral patterns are based on decisions by many individuals Behavior should be adaptive and responsive to local constraints. Different ecologies should lead to different behavioral complexes. Similar ecologies will often lead to similar behaviors. (Eg. In ecologies where men can provide few resources to women and their children, and women can be economically independent, women will often choose mates based on good genes alone.) The indicators of good genes, health, attractiveness, etc, will be concentrated in a few males who will have many mates. The mating system will be highly polygynous But often social constraints are more important than environmental constraints . If society members come up with a “rule ” that men are only allowed one female partner, and if that rule is backed up by punishments , the sum total of all costs and benefits may favor monogamy, even though the environmental constraints alone might have favored polygyny. Thus, what society you belong to, and the history of which behavioral patterns are enforced by social sanction may become a strong determinant of overall behavior . This observation is what anthropologists often refer to as the effect of “culture” on human behavior. This leads to the observation that historical connections between societies (being derived from a common ancestor society) may be a stronger predictor of common behavioral patterns than is local ecology . (for example societies derived from Islamic cultures are much more likely to be polygynous than those derived from Christian cultures). EXAMPLE: Russia says no to polygamy A decree by the leader of a small Muslim region in Russia allowing men to have up to four wives has been dismissed as unconstitutional by the justice minister . The regional leader of Ingushetia, Ruslan Aushev, signed the decree this week, based on a traditional Islamic practice permitting men to have four wives. Likewise if patterns are copied or borrowed from neighboring groups
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This note was uploaded on 03/24/2010 for the course ANTHRO 101 taught by Professor Osbjorn during the Fall '09 term at New Mexico.

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OCT2631N - cultural relativism= seek to understand other...

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