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Cultural Relativism 2.0

Michael F. Brown
Current Anthropology
Vol. 49, No. 3 (June 2008), pp. 363-383
DOI: 10.1086/529261
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/529261
Page Count: 21
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Cultural Relativism 2.0
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Abstract

Cultural relativism continues to be closely identified with anthropology even though few anthropologists today endorse the comprehensive version of it first articulated by students of Franz Boas. A review of the progressive reduction of the scope of cultural relativism since the early decades of the twentieth century suggests that it should be regarded not as a comprehensive theory or doctrine but as a rule of thumb that when used prudently serves the limited but indispensable function of keeping anthropology attentive to perspectives that challenge received truth.

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