Cultural Relativism

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Cultural Relativism[edit]

Although the theory of cultural relativism was developed by German- American anthropologist, Franz Boas early in the twentieth century, the term itself was coined by philosopher and social theorist, Alain Locke, in 1942. Cultural Relativism is based on the notion that all conceptions, customs, and ethics are relative to a person’s social context. In other words, the culture or society people belong to determines what people consider right or wrong. Since there is a diverse range of cultures, there are bound to be conflicting beliefs; hence, there is no universal standard of morality. However, theorists of cultural relativism do not view this as a problem – they believe that all cultures should be studied from a purely neutral perspective, as all cultures are thought to have equal value. Cultural relativists assert that no society has the right to impose its views on another, and we cannot expect societies to subscribe to one belief system because it is natural to have cultural differences.

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