Cultural relativism as ideology

Critical Review 11 (2):291-300 (1997)
Abstract The concept of culture was originally an expression of German nationalism, which reacted to the French Enlightenment by asserting the uniqueness and incomparability of all cultures as historical creations. This understanding of cultural diversity, which prevailed in American anthropology, is widely understood to imply the moral equality of all cultures. Yet its relativism originally applied to different individuals socialized in the values of their culture, rather than to different cultures. The debate over multiculturalism, which presupposes cultural relativism, ignores this distinction. The vogue of multiculturalism reflects the decline of the Left, quests for community and identity, and an actual reduction in diversity more than a genuine appreciation of different cultures
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DOI 10.1080/08913819708443458
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Ruth Benedict (1946). Patterns of Culture. Philosophical Review 55:497.
W. G. Sumner (1907). Folkways. Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods 4 (24):666-667.

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