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Module 3 HW 1

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1. What are the main elements of a culture? Provide an example of each element from
your own cultural group.
The main elements of culture (p.90) alongwith examples from my cultural group are:
Symbols
Salam is the symbol of salutation in my culture often done by touching one hand to the
forehead
Language
Arabic language
Norms
Wearing veils by women is a norm
Values
Truthfulness is a core value
Artifacts
“Juba” we wear is our culture’s artifact.

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2. Compare and contrast ethnocentrism and cultural relativism?
(p.94)
The fact of cultural diversity raises some important but difficult questions of cultural
relativism and ethnocentrism. Cultural relativism refers to the belief that we should not
judge any culture as superior or inferior to another culture. In this view, all cultures have
their benefits and disadvantages, and we should not automatically assume that our own
culture is better and “their” culture is worse. Ethnocentrism, the opposite view, refers to
the tendency to judge another culture by the standards of our own and to the belief that
our own culture is indeed superior to another culture. When we think of cow worship in
India, it is easy to be amused by it and even to make fun of it. That is why anthropologist
Marvin Harris’s analysis was so important, because it suggests that cow worship is in fact
very important for the Indian way of life. Some scholars think cultural relativism is an
absolute, that we should never judge another culture’s beliefs and practices as inferior to
our own. Other scholars think cultural relativism makes sense up to a point, but that there
are some practices that should be condemned, even if they are an important part of
another culture, because they violate the most basic standards of humanity. For example,
a common practice in areas of India and Pakistan is dowry deaths, where a husband and
his relatives murder the husband’s wife because her family has not provided the dowry
they promised when the couple got married (Kethineni & Srinivasan, 2009). Often they
burn the wife in her kitchen with cooking oil or gasoline and make it look like an
accident. The number of such dowry deaths is estimated to be at least several hundred
every year and perhaps as many as several thousand. Should we practice cultural

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1. What are the main elements of a culture? Provide an example of each element from your own cultural group. The main elements of culture (p.90) alongwith examples from my cultural group are: Symbols Salam is the symbol of salutation in my culture often done by touching one hand to the forehead Language Arabic language Norms Wearing veils by women is a norm Values Truthfulness is a core value Artifacts “Juba” we wear is our culture’s artifact. 2. Compare and contrast ethnocentrism and cultural relativism? (p.94) The fact of cultural diversity raises some important but difficult questions of cultural relativism and ethnocentrism. Cultural relativism refers to the belief that we should not judge any culture as superior or inferior to another culture. In this view, all cultures have their benefits and disadvantages, and we should not automatically assume that our own culture is better and “their” culture is worse. Ethnocentrism, the opposite view, refers to the tendency to judge another culture by the standards of our own and to the belief that our own culture is indeed superior to another culture. When we think of cow worship in India, it is easy to be amused by it ...
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I was having a hard time with this subject, and this was a great help.

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