Cultural Relativism - Essay Example

Only on StudentShare

Extract of sample
Cultural Relativism

Suttee is a Hindu funeral custom in which the widow becomes a sacrifice and immolated alive with her husband on the latter's funeral pyre. This act is said to be voluntarily done by the widow as an act of utmost devoutness. However, suttee is believed to have been often forced on the widow by prevailing social pressures, sometimes to the extent of using drugs. It should be noted that many Indian communities, which includes the Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists, explicitly prohibit the practice of suttee. Even the Tantras strictly condemn the act. In some Hindu societies, specifically the Rajputs and other geographic regions such as Rajasthan, Bengal and parts of the Gangetic plain in India, it is believed that performing suttee cleansed a couple of all sins, warranted salvation and ensured their reunion in the afterlife.

Continuing incidence of suttee was rumored to have still existed in rural areas even in the 20th century. In one reported incident in 1988, Roop Kanwar, a childless 19-year old housewife, was immolated on her husband's pyre in Deorala, a Rajasthans village. This event became highly controversial and set modern Indian ideology against the traditional one. ...
Download paper


This paper discusses the attitude towards the cultural practice of one society that is far different from one’s own. Moreover, this paper points out the universality of cultural principles, i.e. how some sound practices of one society can be adopted by others…
Author : garrettdoyle

Related Essays

Cultural Relativism and Universal Human Rights
According to the anthropological relativism is a way of understanding the cultural biases based on the behaviours and beliefs of the local inhabitants. This relativism avoids ethnocentrism, i.e., thinking that one’s own culture is the best with respect to others. On the other hand, philosophical relativism is the sceptic notion about the proposition of truth based on the person interpreting it because this kind of relativism does not arrive at any cultural or moral consensus. Normative relativism is an approach mainly adopted by the philosophers whereas anthropologists engage in descriptive...
15 pages (3765 words) Essay
Cultural relativism and ethical subjectivism
This research will begin with the statement that the search for morals or ethics, or more simply of right and wrong, is not new in this world. The debate about ethics and morals dates back to early Greek philosophers. Many ethical theories have been forwarded by different scholars and different underlying principles have been given that may guide people in the ethical dilemma. Two such principles are very famous in today’s world and are known as cultural relativism and ethical or moral subjectivism. Cultural relativism is the belief about defining human actions on the basis of cultural...
5 pages (1255 words) Essay
Diversity Sociology Essay
This will eventually establish the real essence of whatever perspective or discipline should be used in understanding the complex human behavior. Keywords: sociological perspective, economic perspective, psychological perspective Introduction How does diversity impact sociological considerations is one of the important aspects discussed in this essay. Furthermore, how this chosen discipline differs in its perspective in explaining group behavior compared with psychologist and other point of view is substantially discussed. Particularly, the proponent chooses cultural relativism in the...
4 pages (1004 words) Essay
ethical relativism
For instance, if morals and social norms were universal in all the societies in the world, then ethical relativism would not work. It can be said that ethical relativism is a means through which an understanding of the differing social norms can be understood, and the right decisions concerning ethics can be made. Ethical relativism is a viewpoint where there is the belief that morality is dependent on the norms of a culture that practice it; thus, this society determines whether the actions of individuals in morally right or wrong (Ulin 803). Those who propagate this theory believe that...
3 pages (753 words) Research Paper
Cultural Lag,Re-socialization,Cultural Relativism
Cultural lag is when a particular entity of society fails to keep up the pace with cultural transformation and its dynamic existence. This cultural lag can be in form of sub culture, traits, norms or mores. Every culture embraces itself to the modern explorations that take place around. For example the introduction of science and technology and other elements keep on getting added to the society. When a particular culture is not adaptive to these changes, it is termed to have suffered from cultural lag(Brinkerhoff Cultural lag is a subjective and relative term and is presented in...
2 pages (502 words) Essay
It has been argued that there persist many cultures that deny the equal rights of women. The article attempts to highlight the prevailing controversy between the concepts of universality of human rights and cultural relativism. Conceptually, universality is considered to be an essential characteristic related to human rights. Accordingly, human rights are ascertained to be the rights that are applicable to all human beings and thus it is considered to be universal. Evidently, the universality of human rights advocates that all human beings are the holders of human rights regardless of what...
3 pages (753 words) Essay
Got a tricky question? Receive an answer from students like you! Try us!