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In 'The Culture of Being Rude', published in the August 03, 2009 issue of Smithsonian.com magazine, Rob Dunn reports on a new theory of cultural diversity. According to Dunn, two researchers, Corey Fincher and Randy Thornhill, have proposed a theory of cultural difference based on the prevalence of disease. The researchers suggest that cultural differences in behavior are based on fear of diseases which might be transmitted by strangers. They tested their theory by examining places where cultural practices differ and seeing if the prevalence of diseases was correlated with xenophobia. They found that in places with more disease, people were also more xenophobic, which provides support for their theory. The theory
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Unformatted text preview: is important because it is broader than previous theories, which did not attempt to explain all of cultural variation on the basis of one factor, and it cuts across lines of inquiry, defining cultural behaviors in terms of biology rather than anthropology. In addition to citing support for the theory, Dunn points out arguments against it as well, such as other variables which could affect cultural diversity. In any case, however, he concludes that while further research is necessary to prove this particular theory, we appear to have very little control over our own existence, and much of our behavior seems to be determined by factors beyond our control....
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