cultural relativism

Witt Chapter  Learning Objectives[i] (course objective 3.8)

  Sociological understanding of cultural relativism is not the same as the more controversial moral relativism.  For sociologists cultural relativism means that we will try to intellectually understand the culture even when that culture contains behaviors we find unacceptable or even reprehensible.  We seek to understand how the behaviors work in the society, who they are benefitting and how they make people feel.  In the end we are under no obligation to agree with the ideas or behaviors and we are not prohibited from seeking to change them to help people find a more satisfying way of living.  We are not required to change our own ways to accommodate behaviors that violate the ethics and standards of our own culture.What the practice of cultural relativism does for sociologists is put a requirement of logical and rational research in front of a reaction based on pure emotion.


Define and Discuss Cultural Relativism


Pages  61-32  Remember to take notes using the note feature of Angel
  The following article looks at cultural relativism from the point of view of one religious perspective, Christianity.  I chose this article because it has a credible author and gives a very straightforward discussion of the problem that faces many who promote sociological relativism and face criticism that it is not a wise decision to just accept other cultures as they are.
Key Terms  
Define Cultural Relativism
Evaluation  Quiz 3.8
Additional resources  



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