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Describe the concept of cultural relativism, and explain why it is an important perspective for anthropologists and other people who want to understand human behavior.

Cultural relativism is the view that all ideas, mores, and moral principles are relative to human beings within their own societal context. This also includes the “right” and “wrong” notion as a culture-specific. For instance, what is considered moral in one community might be considered depraved in another. Therefore, since there is no widespread standard of ethics that exist, no one has the right to arbitrate another society’s civilization. Cultural relativism is vital to anthropologist since they use cultures, which are regularly valuable of deference. This also helps in studying a new culture (Herskovitz, 2005). Generally, anthropologist usually dangles judgment, empathize and try to appreciate how a particular ethnicity sees the world.

Anthropology also inquires to dismantle ethnocentrism. This means that the design that one civilization is superior to another. Cultural relativism perceives nothing essentially bad or good with any cultural expression. For example, the ancient Mayan practices of self-mutilation along with human sacrifices are neither good nor bad. Cultural relativism simply describes them as cultural distinctive of the particular community. These practices are the same to the shooting fireworks on 4th July in America. Therefore, human sacrifice as well as fireworks both is essentially diverse products of detached socialization.

Cultural relativism is extensively established in modern anthropology. Cultural relativists suppose that all ethnicities are commendable in their own ways and are of equal value. A variety of cultures, even those with incompatible moral beliefs, is not considered in terms of right and wrong. The modern anthropologist deems all cultures to be equally justifiable lexis of human existence, to be premeditated from a simply neutral perception. Additionally, anthropology is the study of humankind, in all its facets, in all times as well as all places. In this sense, everyone is an anthropologist, for everybody is inquisitive about themselves and their fellow humans. This makes individuals often ask anthropological inquiries (Steward, 2001). Anthropology is idiosyncratic not so much in focus as in approach.

Anthropology and cultural relativism also comprise a large suite of procedures for studying people in qualitative and quantitative depth. This study is possible while one lives among people for comprehensive periods. The anthropologist’s model is to become skilled at a people’s idiom, and observe them in their daily particularly in special events. This involves taking their dimensions, listing their names, and holding absolute debates about their deities, cosmologies, and opinions.

Description of a belief. A belief is a cultural element, which refers to the mental state in which persons holds an intention or premise to be a fact. As a matter of fact there are very many beliefs that exist among several communities (Benford & Hunt, 2002). For instance, the belief that red color should not be worn in an electrical storm since the color is said to attract lightening. Other beliefs include the issue of death where it is considered ill-fated to speak ill of the dead. Consequently, the mysterious howling of dogs is said to portend the death in the family.

The impression one might have if a belief was analyzed outside of his cultural context.

Apparently, the familiarity of another person’s artistic context does not comprise an assurance for successful communication. This explains the reason why a certain belief is valued at a particular community and not considered in another community. Occasionally, a speaker is aware that an audience has definite beliefs and experiences shaped by an explicit social and artistic history. However, the audience prefers, more or less deliberately to disregard this fact. In addition, an individual might attribute to his audience beliefs without a good motive why they would hold to the motives. For instance, the issue of analyzing the issue of talking ill-fate of the dead would make unfavorable impression to a person if his cultural context takes it a serious issue. Therefore, talking ill of the dead may create unpleasant impression to the person and will consider it as disregard to his culture (Cook, 2003).

However, the color red is not considered as a danger to some communities as it is to others. This means that if an individual dresses in red and hails from a community that does not consider this belief, there would be no unpleasant impression of the red color. The perception personal values are, consequently, not correspondent to the appreciation of what general values an individual believes. Personal values are totally diverse from beliefs they are not true or false depending on the world. Moreover, a person will not constantly think that others should kowtow to his delicate values. For instance, if an individual likes to go skiing in the wintertime would be considered a personal value and an activity they like to engage in at the winter period. However, the individual ought to accept that other people do not enjoy the activity. Therefore, this personal value of skiing during the winter period should not comprise a general standard.

Explain how a relativist perspective would improve on a belief misunderstanding. A relativist perspective would improve on a belief misunderstanding through ethical behavior. Ethical behavior involves knowing and doing what is right. However, the difficulty is in defining what entails doing the right thing. Diverse individuals, cultures, as well as different religions describe ethical behavior in dissimilar ways. For instance, the established treatment of talking ill of the dead would see a relativist perspective improve on the belief. This is by stressing on the magnitude of many people, which define ethics and morality as identical. However, it is obliging to view the belief rather in another way for the other communities who do not have the same belief. Ethics is based on a set of social norms and logical idealistic principles. Morality is based on a broader set of beliefs, religious and cultural values, which makes the belief a prominent issue in any society.

An example of a cultural element from my own community stresses on the importance of disciplining the children while still young. This ensures that the child grows to be a responsible person in the future. Failure to do may lead to the child engaging in immoral behaviors without the knowledge whether they are bad or good. This is due to the parent’s negligence of the child’s upbringing. A person from a society that does not value children discipline may view child punishment when in wrong as bad. This is a cultural element that may be misunderstood by other people as being unfair to the child or exacting the child to torture. The person fails to comprehend the notion that discipline ought to be instilled in a child from the beginning.

A relativist approach would add the understanding of the above cultural element by making the belief of the particular community becomes essential to them. This enhances their understanding and prestige of their belief that a child should be disciplined early to avoid future distresses. The cultural element may also be passed from one community to the other who may not have adopted it from the beginning. This would make the community become an element of culture transmission, which becomes an adoption of the original culture.

In conclusion, certain positions of cultural relativism in modern societal norms have been arguing against the kinds of universalistic tendencies. This is by addressing the variety of cultures and their precise distinctiveness even though it has become impractical to talk about culture. The so-called postcolonial dissertation has replaced this moderate notion by the initiative of cultural difference thus, proposing a changed paradigm for cultural encounters that also has a collision on cultural politics (Mitchell, 2008). The main axis of global conflict on a world scale will be the divergence of cultures rather than of nations. It also includes the diversity amid political and economic systems or standards of improvement. Thus, for the pertinent future, there will be no widespread evolution, but as a substitute, a world of dissimilar civilizations, each of which will have to gain knowledge and coexist with the other communities.

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