Cultural Relativism

Cultural relativism is the principle that states that an individual's beliefs and activities must be considered in terms of that person's own culture.

For instance, some people of Native American culture who practice traditional lifestyles have beliefs about life and its relationship to the supernatural that are very different from Anglo Americans. This doesn't mean that either one is necessarily right or wrong, just different and these different points of view must be taken into consideration and respected.

For instance, in Navajo culture there is a belief in shape-shifters and the belief that anyone who has seen one of these beings is cursed and needs special ceremonies to remove that curse. Just because Anglo culture doesn't share that belief doesn't make the fear of being cursed any less real. Cultural relativism must be taken into account when encountering culture-bound syndromes which are illnesses or combinations of symptoms that are recognized as a disease/disorder only within a specific culture or group. The DSM-5 contains a listing and descriptions of some of these conditions.

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