What Is Cultural Relativism

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I.2. Cultural Relativism Issues of ideology and power are remained deeply embedded when dealing with democracy. In International Relations, cultural relativists determine whether an action is right or wrong by evaluating it according to the ethical standards of the society within which the action occurs. . This is particularly so where culture is linked to particular state or regional interests. Relativism has become a complimentary to constructivism since these two concepts are philosophically related. Constructivism and cultural relativism are products of man’s mind. According to both, there are no absolute truths that can really answer the central questions in this thesis since the case itself is about culture, values, and ideology. Furthermore,…show more content…
Henceforth, the concept is important to understand the suitability between Thailand’s norms and the Western norm of democracy’s position to each other. The concept of democracy that will be used in this research will be based on the general perspective of democracy alongside its physical and normative features. Therefore, the cultural relativism concept will explain both democracies of Western and Thailand’s. Thailand may show similar physical features of Western democracy, but not its normative features since Thailand has different norms than what democracy suggests. Based on the understanding of cultural relativism concept, one can argue that Thailand’s norms, limited to its Buddhism and military coup culture, act as the radical cultural relativism view, meanwhile democracy embodies the radical universalism variant, although the universality of democracy is still being questioned because it is believed as the product of Western countries. Jack Donnelly’s Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights is used as the main source to understand this…show more content…
By looking at the current situation, I argue that the life cycle of Western democracy in Thailand can only go as far as to the first stage, or in other word is failed, due to constant rejections by Thailand’s government that are based from the huge differences with Thailand’s own norms. My argument is also based on Finnemore and Sikkink’s statement that completion of the “life cycle” is not an inevitable process since many emergent norms fail to reach a tipping point.” I would like to prove my argument, which will be further analyzed and proven in the next chapter by using this norm life cycle concept from Finnemore and Sikkink’s journal, International Norm Dynamics and Political
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