Anthropological Concepts Of 'Ethnocentrism' And Term Paper


49) An extreme example of cultural relativity and the possible moral issues that it might raise, is the practice of female circumcision in many East African societies. From a western cultural perspective, this practice is ethically and morally unacceptable. However, when considered form the vantage point of the societies in question and their specific cultural norms and values, the practice takes on another dimension.

It is easy to see this practice as violating basic human rights and equally easy to be moved to work for its suppression. On the other hand, doing so would be a fundamental violation of the cultural autonomy of the people who practise this ritual. Moreover, when, as cognitive relativism dictates, we view the practise in the context of cultural theories regarding sexuality, reproduction, gender, and the life cycle, we may find,...that female circumcision participates with male circumcision in a rich set of meanings having to do with the way society, rather than nature, makes boys and girls into men and women. (Monaghan & Just, 2000, p. 51)

In conclusion, cultural...


The contemporary leaning towards cultural relativity has opened world cultures and allows their free expression with the same intrinsic status as other more dominant cultures.
Bibliography [[Accessed 8 May 2005].

Barger K. (2004) [Internet] Available at[Accessed 7 May 2005].

Ethnocentrism [Internet] Available at[Accessed 8 May 2005].

Geertz, C. (1973). The Interpretation of Cultures: Selected Essays. New York: Basic Books.

Monaghan, J., & Just, P. (2000). Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Walker, R.B. (Ed.). (1984). Culture, Ideology, and World Order. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

Windschuttle, K. (2002, October). The Ethnocentrism of Clifford Geertz. New Criterion, 21, 5+.

Sources Used in Documents:

Bibliography [[Accessed 8 May 2005].

Barger K. (2004) [Internet] Available at[Accessed 7 May 2005].

Ethnocentrism [Internet] Available at[Accessed 8 May 2005].

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