Practicing Cultural Relativism

LO 2.1—Practicing Cultural Relativism (1 of 4)

Understanding Cultures on Their Own Terms

“Sick Cultures” − Robert Edgerton

Confronting Contrasting Views of Reality

 

 

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LO 2.1—Practicing Cultural Relativism (2 of 4)

Many Americans perceive bullfighting as a cruel activity that should be illegal everywhere. To most Spaniards, bullfighting is a sport that pits matador and bull in a unifying image of power, courage, and glory. Cultural relativism requires that we suspend our own perspectives in order to grasp the perspectives of others, something easier described than attained.

 

 

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LO 2.1—Practicing Cultural Relativism (3 of 4)

What some consider food, even delicacies, can turn the stomachs of others. These roasted grub worms were for sale in Bangkok, Thailand.

 

 

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LO 2.1—Practicing Cultural Relativism (4 of 4)

Standards of beauty vary so greatly from one culture to another that what one group finds attractive, another may not. Yet, in its ethnocentrism, each group thinks that its standards are the best—that the appearance reflects what beauty “really” is.

As indicated by these photos, around the world men and women aspire to their group’s norms of physical attractiveness. To make themselves appealing to others, they try to make their appearance reflect those standards.

 

 

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LO 2.2 Components of Symbolic Culture

Gestures

Language

Language and Perception: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Values, Norms, and Sanctions

Folkways, Mores, and Taboos

 

 

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LO 2.2—Gestures (1 of 2)

Conveying Messages without Words

Gestures’ Meanings Differ Among Cultures

Can Lead to Misunderstandings

Is it really true that there are no universal gestures?

 

 

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Figure 2.1 Gestures to Indicate Height, Southern Mexico

Source: By the author.

 

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Copyright © 2017, 2015, 2012 Pearson Education, Inc. All Rights Reserved

It is helpful for complex images (i.e., charts and graphs) to have descriptive text near the image (perhaps as a caption or in the Notes field). They would still require alt text.

 

14

LO 2.2—Gestures (2 of 2)

Although most gestures are learned, and therefore vary from culture to culture, some gestures that represent fundamental emotions such as sadness, anger, and fear appear to be inborn. This crying child whom I photographed in India differs little from a crying child in China—or the United States or anywhere else on the globe. In a few years, however, this child will demonstrate a variety of gestures highly specific to his Hindu culture.

 

 

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LO 2.2—Language (1 of 2)

Allows Cumulative Human Experience

Provides Social or Shared Past

Provides Social or Shared Future

Allows Shared Perspective

Allows Complex, Shared, Goal-Directed Behavior

 

 

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LO 2.2—Language (2 of 2)

Mural on Calle Ocho in Miami

 

 

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LO 2.2—Language and Perception: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis

Language Has Embedded Within It Ways of Looking at the World

Sapir-Whorf Reverses Common Sense

 

 

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LO 2.2—Values, Norms, and Sanctions (1 of 3)

Values − What is Desirable in Life

Norms − Expectations or Rules for Behavior

Sanctions − Reaction to Following or Breaking Norms

Positive & Negative Sanctions

Moral Holidays and Places

 

 

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LO 2.2—Values, Norms, and Sanctions (2 of 3)

Many societies relax their norms during specified occasions. At these times, known as moral holidays, behavior that is ordinarily not permitted is allowed. This photo was taken at Mardis Gras in New Orleans. When a moral holiday is over, the usual enforcement of rules follows.

 

 

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LO 2.2—Values, Norms, and Sanctions (3 of 3)

The ethnic terms we choose—or which are given to us—are major self-identifiers. They indicate both membership in some particular group and a separation from other groups.

 

 

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LO 2.2—Folkways, Mores, and Taboos (1 of 2)

Folkways − Norms not Strictly Enforced

Mores − Core Values: We Insist on Conformity

Taboos

 

 

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LO 2.2—Folkways, Mores, and Taboos (2 of 2)

The violation of mores is a serious matter. In this case, it is serious enough that the security at a football match in Edmonton, Alberta (Canada), have swung into action to protect the public from seeing a “disgraceful” sight, at least one so designated by this group.

 

 

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LO 2.3 Many Cultural Worlds

Subcultures

Countercultures

 

 

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LO 2.3—Subcultures (1 of 9)

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