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SOCA02 Lec 11.docx

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Sheldon Ungar

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SOCA02 Lec 11  Genital mutilation  Intersection: multiculturalism (cultural relativism), feminism, anti-colonialism, political correctness o Articles o Brym – its your choice section  Universal principles of human decency vs. cultural relativism  No real debate – cutting off genitals – sewing them off o Condemn women to horrible reality based on an ideological position  Abstract ideologies have their limits  Consistency of ideological purity for its own sake generates irrational outcomes  Ralph Waldo Emerson – a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines o Cultures as separate but equal?  Some radical feminists – try to remain consistent in their point of view no matter what o Call it genital cutting – cutting sounds better than mutilation o Assert all cultures are equal  Need to affirm them  Avoid ethnocentrism (my culture better than yours), racism, neo- imperialism  Not deny cultural sovereignty to less powerful people (is what colonialism does)  All cultures are equal: BUT o RF often exempt the West  Practices conquest, colonialism, imperialism  Invoke sense of guilt for their past o Can’t really feel guilt because we weren’t around then o RF claim that west is somehow worse than any other empires or cultures warfare and conquest were historical given o How did Islam Spread? – War and Conquest  If Islam had reached Vienna they would have been prominent in Europe  The crusades – Europe fighting back o Islam religion of peace, Christianity as a religion of love?  Religions vary by time, place, group  Christians warred against protestants o Religion as amorphous – changes with time th  In the end… the west is more successful militarily, 17 cent on o Counterfactual historical claim  Others would more or less have done what the west did – would have become military powerhouses  Japan was never colonized and became powerful on its own, Burma – monks and other Buddhists are killing Muslims (ironic because they were being killed a year ago for wanting democracy)  Basically the west isn’t the worst place in the world  The natives weren’t that good with nature, they just didn’t have the numbers, they weren’t peaceful either  All cultures are equal, so we must respect other cultures (we don’t have to accept them though) o Accept genital mutilation  Deeply embedded in the culture  Meaningful  Serves useful functions  We also should accept.. o Warfare and conquest (piracy) o Rape in war o Slavery – losers of the war o Torture – trials by ordeal  Used to throw people in water to see if they were witches o Forced marriages o Honour killings  All of this follows from taking cultural relativism (& political correctness) to their logical extremes  Last term noted: o All cultural practices relative  Few, rather weak cultural universals o But: not become captive to relativism  Possibility of emergent universal principles  Emergent universal principles o National sovereignty – idea that within a country, the state is all powerful  Relatively new  Emerged with the nation state – used for bad things  If there were genocide killings, would tell other countries to f off – was going on in their country o Right to intervene in the affairs of nations  Other countries tried to intervene  National sovereignty rejected:  Rejected at an extreme  Bosnia-Herzegovina, 1992-5  Libya o Both led by…  U.S.  In Syria, have told them they cannot use poison gas  Britain was the first to use poison gas  Different approach to Cultural relativism o Every cultural form of existence exhibits deficiencies  If we start with deficiencies, doesn’t mean they are horrible, just means they are deficient  Not negative, racist, etc – just starting from the fact that everything is seen as having deficiencies  US  Hated as imperialist power  Indispensable nation – people want to go there o Only nation that can control warfare and do things  Elections  Capitalism  Communism  Multiculturalism in Europe – Germany, France  Foreign populations as not integrated  Every cultural form of existence exhibits deficiencies o Open space for appraisal and criticism o End the ethos of denial  (RF) – Opposition Genital mutilation as racist
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