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Extension To Cultural Relativism: But What About Human Rights?

Ms. Goelz

Assignment Overview

What happens when something that is legally and morally permissible in one culture is illegal and immoral in another?  How does one confront this conflicting issue? Cultural relativism in Sociology states that one should try to understand the cultural act on the culture’s own terms and make no moral judgments towards that act.  But what happens when this act violates another culture’s human rights, ethics, and/or morality? Should one stand back and observe cultural relativism, or is it okay to cast judgment? Is it okay to speak out against a cultural practice if that particular cultural practice violates human rights?

 

Topics to Illustrate Cultural Relativism: (underlining indicates that the topic is less likely to trigger an emotional response)

Arranged Marriage

Treatment of Women in Some Muslim Nations

Polygamy

Female Genital Mutilation

Child Labor

Honor Killings

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