Cultural relativism

cultural relativistcultural relativitymethodological relativismculturalcultural relativistsculturally relativerelativityAnthropological relativismcultural contextcultural notions
Cultural relativism is the idea that a person's beliefs, values, and practices should be understood based on that person's own culture, rather than be judged against the criteria of another.wikipedia
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Franz Boas

BoasianBoas, FranzFranz Boaz
It was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students.
His work is associated with the movements known as Historical Patricularism and Cultural Relativism.

Anthropology

anthropologistanthropologicalanthropologists
It was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students.
Cultural anthropology, in particular, has emphasized cultural relativism, holism, and the use of findings to frame cultural critiques.

Moral relativism

ethical relativismrelativerelativistic
This principle should not be confused with moral relativism.
Benedict said that transcendent morals do not exist—only socially constructed customs do (see cultural relativism); and that in comparing customs, the anthropologist "insofar as he remains an anthropologist ... is bound to avoid any weighting of one in favor of the other".

Culture

culturalculturesculturally
Although Kant considered these mediating structures universal, his student Johann Gottfried Herder argued that human creativity, evidenced by the great variety in national cultures, revealed that human experience was mediated not only by universal structures, but by particular cultural structures as well.
Within cultural anthropology, the ideology and analytical stance of cultural relativism holds that cultures cannot easily be objectively ranked or evaluated because any evaluation is necessarily situated within the value system of a given culture.

Robert Lowie

Robert H. LowieLowie, Robert H.R.H. Lowie
The first use of the term recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary was by philosopher and social theorist Alain Locke in 1924 to describe Robert Lowie's "extreme cultural relativism", found in the latter's 1917 book Culture and Ethnology.
His theoretical orientation was within the Boasian mainstream of anthropological thought, emphasizing cultural relativism and opposed to the cultural evolutionism of the Victorian era.

Ethnocentrism

ethnocentricAnglocentricethnocentricism
He called this principle ethnocentrism, the viewpoint that "one's own group is the center of everything", against which all other groups are judged.
This egalitarian approach introduced the concept of Cultural Relativism to anthropology, a methodological principle for investigating and comparing societies in as unprejudiced as possible and without using a developmental scale as Anthropologists at the time were implementing.

Ethnography

ethnographicethnographerethnographical
One such method is that of ethnography: basically, they advocated living with people of another culture for an extended period of time, so that they could learn the local language and be enculturated, at least partially, into that culture.
Franz Boas (1858–1942), Bronislaw Malinowski (1884—1942), Ruth Benedict (1887–1948), and Margaret Mead (1901–1978), were a group of researchers from the United States who contributed the idea of cultural relativism to the literature.

Linguistic relativity

Sapir–Whorf hypothesisSapir-Whorf hypothesisPrinciple of linguistic relativity
Although language is commonly thought of as a means of communication, Boas called attention especially to the idea that it is also a means of categorizing experiences, hypothesizing that the existence of different languages suggests that people categorize, and thus experience, language differently (this view was more fully developed in the hypothesis of Linguistic relativity).
Yet another is relativist (Cultural relativism), which sees different cultural groups as employing different conceptual schemes that are not necessarily compatible or commensurable, nor more or less in accord with external reality.

Johann Gottfried Herder

HerderJohann Gottfried von HerderJohann Herder
Although Kant considered these mediating structures universal, his student Johann Gottfried Herder argued that human creativity, evidenced by the great variety in national cultures, revealed that human experience was mediated not only by universal structures, but by particular cultural structures as well.

Melville J. Herskovits

Melville HerskovitsMelville Jean HerskovitsHerskovitsian
Thus, Boas's student Melville Herskovits summed up the principle of cultural relativism thus: "Judgements are based on experience, and experience is interpreted by each individual in terms of his own enculturation."
He also helped forge the concept of cultural relativism, particularly in his book Man and His Works. This book examines in depth the effects of westernization on Africans of diverse cultures who were brought during slavery to the Americas, and who then developed a distinctly different African-American culture as a product of this displacement.

Ruth Benedict

Patterns of CultureRuth Fulton BenedictBenedict, Ruth
Ruth Benedict, another of Boas's students, also argued that an appreciation of the importance of culture and the problem of ethnocentrism demands that the scientist adopt cultural relativism as a method.
Benedict, in Patterns of Culture, expresses her belief in cultural relativism.

Relativism

relativistrelativerelativistic
Truth relativism is the doctrine that there are no absolute truths, i.e., that truth is always relative to some particular frame of reference, such as a language or a culture (cultural relativism).

Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Universal Declaration on Human RightsUnited Nations Universal Declaration of Human RightsThe Universal Declaration of Human Rights
The transformation of cultural relativism as a heuristic tool into the doctrine of moral relativism occurred in the context of the work of the Commission of Human Rights of the United Nations in preparing the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Several nations have used cultural relativism as a justification for limiting the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, despite the World Conference on Human Rights rejecting it as a refugee of human rights violations.
They proposed three notes for consideration with underlying themes of cultural relativism: "1. The individual realizes his personality through his culture, hence respect for individual differences entails a respect for cultural differences", "2. Respect for differences between cultures is validated by the scientific fact that no technique of qualitatively evaluating cultures has been discovered", and "3. Standards and values are relative to the culture from which they derive so that any attempt to formulate postulates that grow out of the beliefs or moral codes of one culture must to that extent detract from the applicability of any Declaration of Human Rights to mankind as a whole."

Roger Sandall

Sandall, Roger
Roger Sandall (1933 – 11 August 2012 ) was an essayist and commentator on cultural relativism and is best known as the author of The Culture Cult.

Xenocentrism

Both xenocentrism and ethnocentrism are a subjective take on cultural relativism.

World Conference on Human Rights

Vienna Conference (1993)1993 in Vienna1993 World Conference on Human Rights
Several nations have used cultural relativism as a justification for limiting the rights in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, despite the World Conference on Human Rights rejecting it as a refugee of human rights violations.
On the opening day of the conference, U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher spoke out strongly against this notion, saying "We cannot let cultural relativism become the last refuge of repression."

Axiom

axiomspostulateaxiomatic
It was established as axiomatic in anthropological research by Franz Boas in the first few decades of the 20th century and later popularized by his students.

Oxford English Dictionary

OEDOxford DictionaryThe Oxford English Dictionary
The first use of the term recorded in the Oxford English Dictionary was by philosopher and social theorist Alain Locke in 1924 to describe Robert Lowie's "extreme cultural relativism", found in the latter's 1917 book Culture and Ethnology.

Race (human categorization)

raceracialraces
Boas believed that the sweep of cultures, to be found in connection with any sub species, is so vast and pervasive that there cannot be a relationship between culture and race.

Epistemology

epistemologicalepistemictheory of knowledge
Cultural relativism involves specific epistemological and methodological claims.

Ethics

ethicalmoral philosophyethic
Whether or not these claims necessitate a specific ethical stance is a matter of debate.

Herodotus

HerodotosHerodotus of HalicarnassusHerod.
Herodotus (Histories 3.38) observes on the relativity of mores :

Histories (Herodotus)

HistoriesThe Histories(The) Histories
Herodotus (Histories 3.38) observes on the relativity of mores :

Mores

social moresfolkwayscustoms
Herodotus (Histories 3.38) observes on the relativity of mores :

Nomos (sociology)

nomosancestral customsνόμοι
Herodotus (Histories 3.38) observes on the relativity of mores :