https://www.flickr.com/photos/sandeepachetan/

Individual Identity and Cultural Relativism

Published: Sunday 18 April, 2010



“New kinds of technological interfaces will have in the future, an impact on our understanding of what is an individual self. So much of what we already can do with technology takes place outside the individual body… As synthetic biology moves ahead there will be other things which will be there in the world which are derivatives of us but are not within the boundary of the human body. So what it is to be biologically human is moving out into the world in ways we could not have foreseen generations before. Some people argue that it is at this moment in history when this is changing faster than ever before…”

In this interview with Counterpoint, a think-tank of the British Council, Henrietta L. Moore discusses her views on how anthropologists can best understand different cultures. What are the potential benefits and limitations of cultural relativism? How can psychoanalytic approaches enhance and enrich understanding? What is the impact of culture and technology on individual identity? Finally, how is one to interpret the current moment of cultural change? Are apocalyptic narratives of ‘mcdonaldisation’, ‘starbucksisation’ and homogenization justified?

Listen to the podcast on the BC Counterpoint website: http://www.counterpoint-online.org/henrietta-moore-talks-to-counterpoint/

Share this article:




Recent Posts

Time for a new prosperity, rooted in a symbiotic relationship with nature

Commentary

The independent review on The Economics of Biodiversity led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta has now been delivered to the government. The report underlines our failure to grasp that our economies are “embedded within Nature, and not external to it.” We rely on nature to “provide us with food, water and shelter; regulate our climate and disease; maintain nutrient cycles and oxygen production; and provide us with spiritual fulfilment and opportunities for recreation and recuperation which can enhance our health and well-being.”

Read More

Co-designing solutions to Lebanon’s energy crisis

Commentary

On 4 August 2020, a massive explosion at Beirut’s port killed at least 200 people and caused up to $15bn in damage to buildings and infrastructure – including the destruction of the public electricity company building. It was the latest blow for a country battling a 30-year energy crisis and facing chronic shortages as a result of an ageing infrastructure based around fossil fuels.

Read More

Reinvigorating local economies through Universal Basic Services, not income

Commentary

In 1945, the UK’s welfare state was set up to address the want, need and misery caused by unemployment. Seventy-five years later, prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, we had almost full employment in the UK – and yet we still have massive levels of poverty and precarity experienced by people in work.

Read More