Anthropology Answer Writing Practice 2018 - Week 3 - Question 3

90 Days Anthropology Answer Writing Practice Question 1 for 28-Nov-2018

Instructions for Writing Answer

1. Write your answers in the comment section.


2. Experts will provide their feedback in reply.

3. Model Answers will be uploaded on this page the next day.

4. Rectify your mistakes and progress further.

5. All the Best.

28-Nov-2018 - Question 1

Differentiate between cultural relativism and ethnocentrism. 200 words

For Question 2 - Click Here

Model Answer

Cultural relativism means the ability to see the belief, customs and rituals etc of other people/society in their own context i.e. without any biases and preconceived notions. This concept was given by Franz boas. Every society has its own culture which is unique in its own way. Various cultures are different from each other rather than superior or inferior to each other. For instance, western culture in eastern nations is considered superior while it may not be so.

           On other hand, ethnocentrism is a phenomenon where people consider a culture superior to another. They judge culture on the basis of rituals, practices etc and compare those with another culture. This notion is in contrast to cultural relativism. Often, someone can be seen making statement for tribal people that they are uncivilized. It is important here to note that the practices, belief, rituals, habits etc they practice is part of their culture which they had inherited from their civilization. Hence, tribals cant be said as uncivilized.

            These two concepts are very dear to anthropologist who studies culture in non-partisan manner. He incorporates these concepts while on field work .Through the concept of cultural relativism he gets to know every minute details of that society. It helps her to discover the society through scientific lens. It provides objectivity to the study and research. Whereas, the concept of ethnocentrism provides subjective assessment of any society which may not hold ground. As objectivity in science is an important aspect, the concept of cultural relativism provides anthropology a scientific base. 


            Where cultural relativism is an important concept in anthropological studies, at the same time it should not be used by societies as a tool of proliferation  of inhuman, derogatory practices. For e.g. head hunting among konyak nagas, sati practices uptil 19th century, virginity test in kanjharbhat community etc. Such practices need to be taken down in a progressive society.


Note: There is no template for a correct UPSC answer, the model answer is only for your reference



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