Monaghan & Just – Bee Larvae and Onion Soup: Culture

Bee Larvae and Onion Soup: Culture

by John Monaghan & Peter Just

[Monaghan, John and Just, Peter. 2000. “Bee Larvae and Onion Soup: Culture.” in Social and Cultural Anthropology: A Very Short Introduction. Pp. 34-52.]

Points & Quotes:

Universalized “culture”

“one learns a great deal that one is never explicitly taught.” (36)

“Boas described a human a kulturbrille, a set of ‘cultural glasses’ that each of us wears, lenses that provide us with a means of perceiving the world around us, for interpreting the meaning of our social lives, and framing action in them.” (38)

“At least three points of debate have continued to recur in the way anthropologists talk about the concept of culture.

    1. One has to do with the extent to which a ‘culture’ should be regarded as an integrated whole;
    2. the second has to do with the extent to which ‘culture’ can be seen as an autonomous, ‘superorganic’ entity;
    3. and the third has to do with how we can best go about drawing boundaries around ‘cultures’.” (43-44, formatting added)

To Durkheim and Mauss: “Society was not simply a model which classificatory thought followed; it was its own divisions which served as divisions for the system of classification.” (40-41)

“Claude Levi-Strauss, the founder of ‘structuralist’ anthropology, would claim that human classification is indeed universal,but that it is universal because a human predisposition to making distinctions produced classifications that mutatis mutandis were but surface representations of a more fundamental ‘deep structure’ shaped by the binary nature of the human mind.”

  • “[l]f we look at all the intellectual undertakings of mankind … the common denominator is always to introduce some kind of order. If this represents a basic need for order in the human mind and since, after all, the human mind is onlypart of the universe, the need probably exists because there is some order in the universe and the universe is not chaos.” (41)

“French philosopher Michel Foucault has popularized a new direction among some anthropologists, who have come to see the categories of meaning imposed by culture as a basis of inequality and oppression. In other words, they see the ability to control the content of cultural classifications as a primary source of power in society. This in turn makes the contestation of categories of social classification, such as ‘male’ and ‘female’, with all of the social, political, and economic associations that attend them, a primary mode of resistance to authority. ” (42)

“The idea that culture is an integrated and integrating whole is in part based upon the great modernist insight that underlying apparently discrete bits of belief or behaviour rests a more fundamental reality. For Karl Marx that determining reality was the mode of production; for Emile Durkheim it was society; for Sigmund Freud it was the unconscious; and for many in anthropology, following the lead of Boas, it has been culture itself.” (43-44)

“Ruth Benedict, one of Boas’ first students, conceived of a culture as a Gestalt, a total pattern … Although Benedict’s approach is now regarded as too simplistic and reductionist, because of its tendency to view cultures in terms of one or two key themes, it has continued to prove a powerful means for organizing and integrating the minutiae of ethnographic observation.” (44)

Clifford Geertz “used cockfighting – a popular form of entertainment in Bali – as an image that also serves to characterize beliefs and practices … In this way, Geertz is able to show how disparate elements of Balinese culture create a ‘fabric of meaning and belief’ that is consistent and mutually reinforcing. For Geertz, cultures can be read as texts, much as one might read a novel or a poem. The trick, according to Geertz, is to seek out cultural ‘texts’ that the people of the society themselves find compelling – as the Balinese are fascinated by cockfighting – and to not only understand them as they see them, but to see the ways the themes of these ‘texts’ illuminate other aspects of the society.” (44-45)

Some “refer to cultures as if they were autonomous things with lives of their own. Alfred Kroeber once compared culture to a coral reef, which is built up by the secretions of millions of tiny animals, but which existed before any of its living members, and will outlast them all, providing a structure within which future generations will be constrained.” (46)

“Anthony Wallace argued that the contents of the individual mind are in fact highly divergent, and that what culture does is not so much impose a uniformity, but provide a set of shared communicative symbols that organizes this diversity.” (47)

“The essentialism attributed to culture found itself expressed in ethnographies that routinely assumed ‘one people, one culture, one society’. But, as Arjun Appadurai recently asked, doesn’t this premise fly in the face of ‘unequal knowledge and the differential prestige of lifestyles, and discourage attention to the world views and agency of those who are marginalized or dominated’? ” (47)

Big Point!

“Perhaps it would be best to join with most anthropologists today, who tend to view culture not as a thing in itself, but as a learning device for uncovering meaning in social life.” (47-48)

“the anthropological concept of culture has been our discipline’s most significant contribution to modern thought. In uncovering the fundamentally arbitrary and learned basis for the differences among and between human communities, the culture concept has been a powerful weapon in combating racism, national chauvinism, and the ‘scientific’ racism’ that characterized much of anthropology in the nineteenth century” (48)

Cultural Relativism (really good breakdown)

  • We start from the premise that our beliefs, morals, behaviours – even our very perceptions of the world around us – are the products of culture, learned as members of the communities in which we are reared.
  • If, as we believe, the content of culture is the product of the arbitrary, historical experience of a people, then what we are as social beings is also an arbitrary, historical product.
  • Because culture so deeply and broadly determines our worldview, it stands to reason that we can have no objective basis for asserting that one such worldview is superior to another, or that one worldview can be used as a yardstick to measure another.
  • In this sense, cultures can only be judged relative to one another, and the meaning of a given belief or behaviour must first and foremost be understood relative to its own cultural context.
  • That, in a nutshell, is the basis of what has come to be called cultural relativism. (49, formatting added)

“In addition to these aspects of cultural relativism we must also entertain the moral dimensions of cultural relativism … Behaviour that might be nonsensical, illegal, or immoral in one society might be perfectly rational and socially accepted in another … do we deal with the stranger in our midst when that stranger’s culture is morally different from our own? At what point are segments of a given community entitled to a claim of cultural distinctiveness that demands autonomy and respect? Are soccer hooligans or terrorists entitled to claim the protection of cultural relativism?” (50-51)

“One wonders, ultimately, if it is logically possible to simultaneously subscribe to both the notion of universal human rights and a belief in the relativity of cultures.” (52)

“we note with Clifford Geertz that the crimes committed in the name of cultural relativism pale in comparison to those committed in the name of cultural and national chauvinism or, for that matter, almost any other ‘ism’. His stance is one of ‘anti-anti­ relativism.” (52)

Terms:
 
bricolage—kind of collage in which the odds and ends of culture are turned to uses for which they may never have been intended but which fit into an underlying pattern
 
embodiment—when we act, we act not simply as minds but also as physical bodies
 
Some anthropologists on “Culture”:
 

Annotation Summary:

Page 1 (1), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “There are many things abouthumans that are unique . But perhaps the most extraordinary characteristic is our capacity to conceptualize the world and to communicate those conceptions symbolically. Anthropologists, especially those trained in the American tradition, call this capacity ‘culture’. “

Page 2 (2), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “However we define culture, most anthropologists agree that it has to dowith those aspects of human cognition and activity that are derived from what we learn as members of society, keeping in mind that one learns a great deal that one is never explicitly taught. “

Page 2 (2), Underline (Blue):
Content: ” onelearns a great deal that one is never explicitly taught. “

Page 2 (2), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘Culture or civilization, taken in its wide [comparative] ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.'”

Page 2 (2), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘shared patterns of learned behaviour’.”

Page 2 (2), Underline (Red):
Content: “Edward B. Tylor’s”

Page 2 (2), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘shared patterns of learned behaviour’.”

Page 2 (2), Underline (Red):
Content: “Edward B. Tylor’s”

Page 2 (2), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘Culture or civilization, taken in its wide [comparative] ethnographic sense, is that complex whole which includes knowledge, belief, art, morals, law, custom, and any other capabilities and habits acquired by man as a member of society.'”

Page 3 (3), Underline (Red):
Content: “Raymond Williams”

Page 3 (3), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘powerfully but not explicitly, some central formation of values’ as well as ‘a use which made it almost equivalent to society: a particular way oflife- “American culture”, “Japanese culture”.'”

Page 3 (3), Underline (Red):
Content: “Franz Boas”

Page 4 (4), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “From the outset, Boas was fascinated by the idea that environment, cultural aswell as physical, had a determining effect on the way one views the world. “

Page 5 (5), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Where Tylor saw ‘culture’ as an accumulation accomplishment, Boas described of human a ‘l(u/turbrille’, a set of ‘cultural glasses’ that each of us wears, lenses that provide us with a means fperceiving the world around us, for interpreting the meaning of oursocial lives, and framing action in them. “

Page 5 (5), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “human a ‘l(u/turbrille’, a set of ‘cultural”

Page 5 (5), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “a ‘l(u/turbrille’, a set of ‘cultural Boas described each of us wears, lenses that provide us with a means”

Page 5 (5), Underline (Blue):
Content: “d a ‘l(u/turbrille’, a set of ‘cultural glasses’ that each of us wears, lenses that provide us with a means fperceiving the world around us, for interpreting the meaning of oursocial lives, and framing action in them. “

Page 5 (5), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “each of us wears, lenses that provide us with”

Page 6 (6), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Culture, like a set of glasses, focuses our experience of the world”

Page 7 (7), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “to paraphrase Clyde l(luckhohn, each person is simultaneously like some other people, like all other people, and like no other person.”

Page 7 (7), Underline (Red):
Content: “Clyde l(luckhohn,”

Page 7 (7), Underline (Red):
Content: ” EmileDurkheim “

Page 7 (7), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Emile Durkheim and his nephew Marcel Mauss, argued that the human capacity for classification was an extension of our social nature.”

Page 7 (7), Underline (Red):
Content: “Marcel Mauss,”

Page 7 (7), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “‘Society was not simply a model which classificatory thought followed; it was its own divisions which served as divisions for the system of classification.”

Page 7 (7), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “‘Society was not simply a model which classificatory thought followed; it was its own divisions which served as divisions for the system of classification.”

Page 8 (8), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The first logical categories were social categories; the first classes of things were classes of men, into which these things were integrated.'”

Page 8 (8), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “The first logical categories were social categories; the first classes of things were classes of men, into which these things were integrated.'”

Page 8 (8), Underline (Red):
Content: “Claude Levi-Strauss, “

Page 8 (8), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Claude Levi-Strauss, the founder of ‘structuralist’ anthropology, would claim that human classification is indeed universal,but that it is universal because a human predisposition to making distinctions produced classifications that mutatis rmitandis were but surface representations of a more fundamental ‘deep structure’ shaped by the binary nature of the human mind: ‘”

Page 8 (8), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “[l]f we .look at all the intellectual undertakings of mankind … the common denominator is always to introduce some kind of order. If this represents a basic need for order in the human mind and since, after all, the human mind is onlypart of the universe, the need probably exists because there is some order in the universe and the universe is not chaos.'”

Page 9 (9), Underline (Red):
Content: “Michel Foucault”

Page 9 (9), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “French philosopher Michel Foucault has popularized a new direction among some anthropologists, who have come to see the categories of meaning imposed by culture as a basis of inequality and oppression. In other words, they see the ability to control the content of cultural classifications as a primary source of power in society. This in turn makesthe contestation of categories of social classification, such as ‘male’ and ‘female’, with all of the social, political, and economic associations that attend them, a primary mode of resistance to authority. “

Page 10 (10), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The whole notion of etiquette, of manners, if you like, is one shared by all human cultures. Eating is not simply the satisfaction of our need for nutrition: it is hedged about with a system of conceptual categories (e.g., ‘food’ vs. ‘non-food’ or ‘choice’ vs. ‘ordinary’ items), moral values (e.g., favouring one’s guest), and culturally determined emotions (e.g., delight or disgust) which invest the satisfaction of nutritional needs with meanings that give it depth and resonance as a human experience.”

Page 10 (10), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Human cultures, then, seem to be infinitely variable, but in fact that variability takes place within the boundaries produced by physical and mental capacities. Human languages, for example, are tremendously diverse, differing in sound, grammar, and semantics. But all are dependent upon what appears to be a uniquely human capacity and predisposition for learning languages. While the range of sounds used in human languages extends from clicks and pops to guttural stops, the distinctive speech sounds that are meaningful in all the languages of the world are but a fraction of the sounds it is possible for humans to make.”

Page 10 (10), Underline (Blue):
Content: “Human cultures, then, seem to be infinitely variable, but in fact that variability takes place within the boundaries produced by physical and mental capacities.”

Page 10 (10), Stamp (openStarred)

Page 10 (10), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “At least three points of debate have continued to recur in the way anthropologists talk about the concept of culture. One has to do with the extent to which a ‘culture’ should be regarded as an integrated whole; the second has to do with the extent to which ‘culture’ can be”

Page 10 (10), Underline (Blue):
Content: “At least three points of debate have continued to recur in the way anthropologists talk about the concept of culture. One has to do with the extent to which a ‘culture’ should be regarded as an integrated whole; the second has to do with the extent to which ‘culture’ can be”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “seen as an autonomous, ‘superorganic’ entity; and the third has to do with how we can best go about drawing boundaries around ‘cultures’.”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Blue):
Content: “seen as an autonomous, ‘superorganic’ entity; and the third has to do with how we can best go about drawing boundaries around ‘cultures’.”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The idea that culture is an integrated and integrating whole is in part based upon the great modernist insight that underlying apparently discrete bits of belief or behaviour rests a more fundamental reality. ForKarl Marx that determining reality was the mode of production; for Emile Durkheim it was society; for Sigmund Freud it was the unconscious; and for many in anthropology, following the lead of Boas, it has been culture itself.”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Blue):
Content: “The idea that culture is an integrated and integrating whole is in part based upon the great modernist insight that underlying apparently discrete bits of belief or behaviour rests a more fundamental reality. For Karl Marx that determining reality was the mode of production; for Emile Durkheim it was society; for Sigmund Freud it was the unconscious; and for many in anthropology, following the lead of Boas, it has been culture itself.”

Page 11 (11), Stamp (openStarred)

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Karl Marx”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Emile Durkheim”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Sigmund Freud”

Page 11 (11), Stamp (exclamationPointred)

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Boas,”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Ruth Benedict, one of Boas’ first students , conceived of a culture as a Gestalt, a total pattern.”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Ruth Benedict,”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Although Benedict’s approach is now regarded as too simplistic and reductionist, because of its tendency to view cultures in terms of one or two key themes, it has continued to prove a powerful means for organizing and integrating the minutiae of ethnographic observation.”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Clifford Geertz”

Page 11 (11), Underline (Red):
Content: “Clifford Geertz”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “used cockfighting – a popular form of entertainment in Bali – as an image that also serves to characterize beliefs and practices”

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” In this way, Geertz is able to show how disparate elements of Balinese culture create a ‘fabric of meaning and belief’ that is consistent and mutually reinforcing. For Geertz, cultures can be read as texts, much as one might read a novel or a poem. “

Page 11 (11), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “The trick, according”

Page 12 (12), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “to Geertz, is to seek out cultural ‘texts’ thafthe people of the society themselves find compelling – as the Balinese are fascinated by cockfighting – and to not only understand them as they see them, but to see the ways the themes of these ‘texts’ illumi~ate other aspects ofthe society. “

Page 12 (12), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Another view of integration has a more rationalistic basis, derived as it is from the linguistic idea of a grammar or set of rules underlying speech.”

Page 12 (12), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Hence, the American anthropologist Ward Goodenough uses the example of a football game to illustrate the goalof ethnographic description . If you want to play football you need to learn enough of the rules and style of playing the game to get along with the other players. “

Page 12 (12), Underline (Red):
Content: “Ward Goodenough”

Page 12 (12), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “A third concept of integration draws on the notion of a formal system, where elements stand in a relationship of mutual implication. Robert”

Page 12 (12), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “For example, in Pigs for the Ancestors,”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Roy Rappaport illustrated a complex ecological system in which the elaborate ritual cycles of the Tsembaga Maring of Highland New Guinea operate as a self-balancing mechanism that regulates the size of the domestic pig population, acreage under cultivation, fallow periods, energy expenditure, subsistence activities, diet, and inter-tribal warfare.”

Page 13 (13), Underline (Red):
Content: “Roy Rappaport”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “At the opposite extreme are those who would deny that culture is integrated,”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “diffusion of traits among Native Americans lead Robert Lowie, another student of Boas, to suggest thatculture is nothing more than ‘a thing of shreds and patches’, the product of a complex but essentially random history”

Page 13 (13), Underline (Red):
Content: “Robert Lowie,”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” A rejoinder to this critique was provided by Claude Levi-Strauss, who pointed out that g1 although the elements found in a given culture might have a wide rangel of historical origins, they have been pieced together as a ‘brico/age’, a ii = kind of collage in which the odds and ends of culture are turned to uses e ct for which they may never have been intended but which fit into an j a underlying pattern.”

Page 13 (13), Underline (Red):
Content: “Claude Levi-Strauss,”

Page 13 (13), Underline (Magenta):
Content: “a ii = kind of collage in which the odds and ends of culture are turned to uses e ct for which they may never have been intended but which fit into an j a underlying pattern. “

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Yellow):
Content: “‘brico/age'”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “recently, anthropologists who reject the modernist assumption of underlying foundations have appropriated the J idea of bricolage to view the essence of culture as a constant reworking, casting off, and reviving of elements into ever-changing complexes. This allows them to avoid the problem of essentializing culture, that is, treating it as if it exists outside of history and not subject to human agency.”

Page 13 (13), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “we often refer to cultures as if they were autonomous things with lives of their own. Alfred l<roeber once compared culture toa coral reef, which is built up by the secretions of millions of tiny animals, but which existed before any of its living members, and will outlast them all, providing a structure within which future generations will be constrained. “

Page 13 (13), Underline (Red):
Content: “Alfred l<roeber”

Page 14 (14), Underline (Red):
Content: “Anthony Wallace”

Page 14 (14), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Anthony Wallace argued that the contents of the individual mind are in fact highly divergent, and th~fwhat culture does is not so much impose a uniformity, but provide a set of shared communicative symbols that organizes this diversity. “

Page 14 (14), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” the essentialism attributed to culture, found itself expressed in ethnographies that routinely assumed ‘one people, one culture, one society’. But, as Arjun Appadurai recently asked, doesn’t this premise fly in the face of ‘unequal knowledge and the differential prestige of lifestyles, and discourage attention to the world views and agency of those who are marginalized or dominated’? “

Page 14 (14), Underline (Red):
Content: “Arjun Appadurai “

Page 14 (14), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Perhaps it would”

Page 14 (14), Underline (Blue):
Content: “Perhaps it would”

Page 15 (15), Stamp (openStarred)

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “be best to join with most anthropologists today, who tend to view culture not as a thing in itself, but as a learning device for uncoveringmeaning in social life. “

Page 15 (15), Underline (Blue):
Content: “be best to join with most anthropologists today, who tend to view culture not as a thing in itself, but as a learning device for uncovering meaning in social life.”

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “a number of anthropologists have concerned themselves with developing concepts that transcend the pervasive dualisms that have informed many of our debates about the nature of culture. One example is the idea of ’embodiment’, that is, when we act, we act not simply as minds but also as physical bodies. Thus when John consumes insects in the Mixteca he not only thinks ‘bugs are vermin’ but viscerallyexperiences bugs as vermin.”

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Yellow):
Content: “’embodiment'”

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” whatever its difficulties, the anthropological ~ j concept of culture has been our discipline’s most significant ] contribution to modern thought. In uncovering the fundamentally a a arbitrary and learned basis for the differences among and between 1 human communities, the culture concept has been a powerful weapon ~ in combating racism, national chauvinism, and the ‘scientific’ racism 0 “‘ that characterized much of anthropology in the nineteenth century”

Page 15 (15), Underline (Blue):
Content: “, the anthropological ~ j concept of culture has been our discipline’s most significant ] contribution to modern thought. In uncovering the fundamentally a a arbitrary and learned basis for the differences among and between 1 human communities, the culture concept has been a powerful weapon~ in combating racism, national chauvinism, and the ‘scientific’ racism 0 “‘ that characterized much of anthropology in the nineteenth century”

Page 15 (15), Stamp (openStarred)

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “For Boas and his students, fighting racism and ethnocentrism – the tendency to measure others entirely by the yardstick of one’s own values – was a primary mission for the discipline of anthropology.”

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Ever the empiricist, Boas carried out studies that countered prevalent American beliefs in the hereditary ‘weakness’ and ‘inferiority’ of certain immigrant nationalities by showing that once in the United Sta-tes improved conditions of health and nutrition quickly produced populations as robust as any.”

Page 15 (15), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Boas’ conviction that environment rather than biological inheritance is the principal determinant of character and behaviour in humans was taken up by some of his students and developed into a theory of cultural determinism that reached a crescendo in the ‘nature versus nurture’ debates that still engage us.”

Page 16 (16), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “cultural Relativism”

Page 16 (16), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “doctrine of ‘cultural relativism’. We start from the premise that our beliefs, morals, behaviours – even our very perceptions of the world around us – are the products of culture, learned as members of the communities in which we are reared. If, as we believe, the content of culture is the product of the arbitrary, historical experience of a people,then what we are as social beings is also an arbitrary, historical product. “

Page 16 (16), Highlight (Yellow):
Content: “‘cultural relativism”

Page 16 (16), Underline (Blue):
Content: “‘cultural relativism’. We start from the premise that our beliefs, morals, behaviours – even our very perceptions of the world around us – are the products of culture, learned as members of the communities in which we are reared. If, as we believe, the content of culture is the product of the arbitrary, historical experience of a people, then what we are as social beings is also an arbitrary, historical product. Because culture so deeply and broadly determines our worldview, it stands to reason that we can have no objective basis for asserting that one such worldview is superior to another, or that one worldview can beused as a yardstick to measure another. In this sense, cultures can only be judged relative to one another, and the meaning of a given belief or behaviour must first and foremost be understood relative to its own cultural context. That, in a nutshell, is the basis of what has come to be called cultural relativism.”

Page 16 (16), Stamp (yesgrn)

Page 16 (16), Stamp (openStarred)

Page 16 (16), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Because culture so deeply and broadly determines our worldview, it stands to reason that we can have no objective basis for asserting that one such worldview is superior to another, or that one worldview can beused as a yardstick to measure another. In this sense, cultures can only be judged relative to one another, and the meaning of a given belief or behaviour must first and foremost be understood relative to its own cultural context. That, in a nutshell, is the basis of what has come to be called cultural relativism. “

Page 16 (16), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “the United States, regard relativism not as a dogma or an ideological desideratum, but, at heart, as an empirical finding. This has been most prominently expressed in the work of the anthropological linguists Edward Sapir and Benjamin Lee Whorf, who used linguistic data to showthat categories such as time, space, and number are given in different ways by different languages, leading Sapir to state that in learning a language, we learn a world. “

Page 16 (16), Underline (Red):
Content: “Edward Sapir”

Page 16 (16), Underline (Red):
Content: ” Benjamin Lee Whorf,”

Page 17 (17), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “In addition to these aspects of cultural relativism we must also entertain ,a ] the moral dimensions of cultural relativism”

Page 17 (17), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “Behaviour that might be nonsensical, illegal, or immoral in one society might be perfectly rational and socially accepted in another.”

Page 17 (17), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “How do we deal with the stranger in our midst when that stranger’s culture is morally different from our own? At what point are segments”

Page 18 (18), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “of a given community entitled i:o a claim of cultural distinctiveness that demands autonomy and respect? Are soccer hooligans or terrorists ‘{ entitled to claim the protection of cultural relativism?”

Page 18 (18), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” Take the practice of female circumcision number of East African societies it has long been the as one example of this sort of dilemma. practice to mark a In a girl’s passage to womanhood with, among other things, a genital operation that in its most extreme form includes the unanaesthetized excision of the clitoris and labia. 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 practice inthe context of cultural theories regarding sexuality, reproduction, gender, and the life cycle, we may find, as Janice Boddy did in her study of the Hofriyati of Northern Sudan, 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. Pl.iced in its cultural context, Hofriyati female circumcision is neither irrational nor deliberately cruel and oppressive and is, moreover, a practice as much subscribed to by traditional Hofriyati women as men. “

Page 18 (18), Underline (Red):
Content: “Janice Boddy”

Page 19 (19), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “One wonders, ultimately, if it is logically possible to simultaneously subscribe to both the notion of universal human rights and a belief in the relativity of cultures.”

Page 19 (19), Underline (Blue):
Content: “One wonders, ultimately, if it is logically possible to simultaneously subscribe to both the notion of universal human rights and a belief in the relativity of cultures.”

Page 19 (19), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: “For all these problems, we note with Clifford Geertz that the crimes committed in the name of cultural relativism pale in comparison to those committed in the name of cultural and national chauvinism or, for that matter, almost any other ‘ism’.”

Page 19 (19), Underline (Red):
Content: “Clifford Geertz”

Page 19 (19), Underline (Blue):
Content: “we note with Clifford Geertz that the crimes committed in the name of cultural relativism pale in comparison to those committed in the name of cultural and national chauvinism or, for that matter, almost any other ‘ism’. His stance is one of ‘anti-anti­ relativism'”

Page 19 (19), Highlight (Cyan):
Content: ” His stance is one of ‘anti-anti­ relativism’ and is a position we find congenial. One can make a claim formeddling in the business of others on the basis of a common humanity; we do, after all, share this planet as a single species. But any such claim g’ should be made with the greatest care and reluctance, and only after a &. sincere and thorough attempt to understand what it is we object to in e 1! its own cultural context. “

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