Cultural Relativism: A Cultural Perspective

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Culture may be defined as the sum totaltotal of non-biological activities of a people. For anthropologists like Marvin Harris (1974). Culture is directly related to concrete material conditions of existence. It is a set of altitudinal and behavioral tools as well as a map of adapting to one’s environment. Culture is thus essentially adaptive. Following the concept of cultural relativism espoused by Margaret Mead (1968) it is the view of this article that culture must be seen asbe specific and valid in particular circumstances with value judgement as to its relative significance to other groups, even within the same nation-state or society. The point that is therefore being made is that there are some particularities of culture that characterize…show more content…
It is suggested that there is less homogeneity and consensus than is generally acknowledge. Structural functionalism is Talcott Parsons made the most battered of all twentieth century sociological theories popular. These two features are held essentially together. First there is a minimum set of common values that are necessary for social order to exist. His intellectual predecessor, Emily Durkheim proposed that society has tomust exist on the basis ofbased on some sort of collective conscience, which is generally shared to a greater or lesser degree. Parsons identifies these subsystems as: Gaul attainment which equates to the political system; the adaptive subsystem which corresponds to the economy; the latency and pattern maintenance subsystem which includes all agents at socialization including the family, school and church. The latter compromises all the rules, values, laws and general prescriptions and prohibitions of behavior. According to Smith, Caribbean societies are plural societies in that they are” units in a political sense. Each is a political unit because it has a single government. He also recognizes that his critics tended to ignore this fact that some uniformity of law and government is essential if the society is to remain a political unit to…show more content…
Two very important phenomena information of colony is sugar and plantation slavery. Within the territory sugar production was possible due to the forced labor of Africans slaves or their descendants. The legacy of slavery and the entire colonial heritage is a highly stratified society based on different access to goods and services. In Latin America were called “Burrios” In the US they are called Hoods and Ghettos. Oscar Lewis in the 1960s developed the motion of a culture of poverty from his ethnographic research with a number in Mexico. The culture of poverty is an adaptation and a reaction of the poor in their marginal position in a class stratified, highly individuated capitalistic society. Although the theory has been attacked because it seems to implicitly blame the poor for their own sufferings. For Lewis, it is a peculiar cultural orientation that is a “legitimate” and functional one as for the survival strategies of the poor concerned. As a true Parsonian service suggested that each society could be characterized according to the different types of subsystems. A society could be therefore be classified according to the level of relative level of the respective subsystems. The Band or Horde was characterized as having “among other features” an egalitarian political order where power was
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