Anthropology # 15 - Anthro #2: Socio-Cultural Anthropology...

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Anthro #2: Socio-Cultural Anthropology Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism Cultural Relativism : The view that the meanings of social practices are defined by their cultural context E thnocentrism : belief that one’s own culture is the standard by which practices in Two common forms of ethnocentrism within our culture: o It measures other cultures against an implicent/explicant hierarchy of cultures (centre defined by Westernized countries) o Claim of lack of understanding; claim that the way that other ppl do things (way of speak, language, accent) are fundamentally incomprehensible Cultural relativism: other countries/cultures can only be judged by themselves Relativism challenges ethnocentrism: 1) by showing that other cultures do “make sense” in their own terms 2) By challenging & undermining claims to cultural superiority (expose ethnocentrism that lies at the heart) The way the 2 nd form of critique develops is due to a shift in perspective Critics of ethnocentrism are hard to except 4 Examples: o Infanticide: babies who are recently born aren’t considered people; therefore if fallen ill there are few efforts to help them (some find this inhuman but anthropologists try to show the way the ways in which the concept of personhood, the way which societies understand what a person is, in fact makes sense of this practice)
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This note was uploaded on 12/05/2011 for the course ANT 100 taught by Professor Uoftstgeorge during the Fall '09 term at University of Toronto.

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Anthropology # 15 - Anthro #2: Socio-Cultural Anthropology...

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