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autonomy.docx

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Department
Social Science
Course
SOSC 1140
Professor
Cameron Johnston
Semester
Fall

Description
                                                                                                                                       Olaniyi 1 Yetunde Olaniyi Professor Cameron Johnston Social Science 1140 5 October 2012 Dorothy Lee: Resolving Conflicts between Culture and IndividualAutonomy Autonomy is achieved when individuals are free to make their own decisions. Autonomy is when individuals are able to make decisions without being restricted by any societal principles or norms. In present day societies individual autonomy is being violated on a daily basis. An example of this violation is the law that restricts a driver from going above a given speed limit. If the person gets caught by the police, he or she must face the penalty for breaking the law. The mandatory speed limit law is however a restriction on the driver’s autonomy because the authorities are responsible for the speed limit decision not him or her. Dorothy Lee, who is the author of the book freedom and culture, ascertains that this violation of individual autonomy is caused by the higher authorities on the hierarchical pyramid. These hierarchical authorities make decisions and set rules that must be followed by the individuals at the bottom of the pyramid. The authorities feel that the rules should be set to maintain order in the society. The mandatory rules are however factors that restrict the autonomy of individuals in the society. Lee points out that these authorities establish set rules because individuals in the society are not being respected for their “sheer personal being” (cite). Consequently, with this lack of sensitivity towards individual autonomy it is almost impossible for laws and limits to exist without them being imposed. That is the key social problem that Lee is addressing, individual anatomy versus societal set laws and limits. Lee establishes the idea that societal laws and limits can co-exist                                                                                                                                        Olaniyi 1 with individual autonomy if individuals are being respected for who they are, which would in turn make individuals view laws as a way of life other than an obligation. To prove this point Lee highlight’s examples from the Navaho community, how their way of life supports the coexistence of autonomy and set principles, specifically in the area of child rearing. Lee states that in native societies an individual’s personal autonomy is prominently respected and accepted. This respect and acceptance applies to any one irrespective of their position on the hierarchical pyramid. Lee exemplifies this by pointing out the way of life of the Navaho Indians with respect to their idea of child rearing. Navaho parents do not make decision for their children irrespective of how young they may be. The Navaho parents believe that they are bridging upon their child’s autonomy by making decisions for them. Lee proves this notion w
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