Cultural relativism and ethnocentrism in making and breaking up of society

Cultural relativism deals with all of the social and cultural standards by which society has been formed and by which society is formed. This reflects the cultural terms and ethnic derivations of the society. They are formed in almost every society and every culture has that fit differently which is different from each society cultural and ethnic norms and value which constitutes and makes it.

The example of cultural relativism is Chinese definition of human rights and its contradiction with the US definition of human rights definition; both have different definitions but have contradiction in the nature of human rights definition.

Similarly the Russian increase of nationalism is when relativism is increased defines the nationalism level of Russians.

Similarly Chinese have different type of democracy definition which contradicts the definition of US or UN accepted definition of democracy. Chinese claims that they have socialist democracy where as its different from the definition of western type of democracy. This is also an example of cultural relativism.

Similarly according to me cultural relativism is accommodation of different cultures and civilizations. I believe that the western concept of orientalism is also an example of cultural relativism which can be explained that how the west see the other half as inferior. Similarly example of terrorism and how the west associates the definitions of terrorism with the Muslims portraying us extremist, radical and what not is also an example of cultural relativism. Similarly US invasion of Iraq on the basis of humanitarian invasion is also an example of cultural relativism fond around.


Ethnocentrism is defined as the superiority of one’s own culture. This is like following up the culture blindly. It’s the superiority complex of the culture. Different cultures have different cultures which are different from one another having different norms and styles which may vary different from the other cultures. These days these are the contributing factors to the racism and other evils of the society. People who have an ethnocentric viewpoint glorify their own group while defaming and discriminating against other communities are said to be ethnocentric (out-group). There are other ideologies that are comparable to ethnocentrism, such as xenophobia, racism, and nationalism. Ethnocentrism is a characteristic of people with authoritarian personalities. Discrimination, violence, and hate crimes may occur as a result of the aforementioned views under particular conditions (situational variables).

It’s a kind of ethnocentrism to criticize other nations for their eating habits, but without any moral justification for doing so. Many Americans, for example, may find it repulsive that Peruvians eat Guinea Pig. on the other hand, may wonder: What makes eating Guinea Pig any different from eating chicken? Guinea Pigs are considered delicacies in traditional Peruvian cuisines. In the same way, Americans may scoff at the French for eating snails. There are several reasons why humans may be quick to condemn or hate snails, but one of the most obvious is that they aren’t really intelligent (and definitely not as intelligent as pigs).

According to a large number of people, no matter where we go, everyone should be able to communicate with us in English. Many of us English speakers take it for granted that we’ll be able to communicate in our own tongue everywhere we go. We are able to do so since English is the most widely used language in business and other professional settings. This may lead to ethnocentrism if we roll our eyes at those who aren’t multilingual, even if we’re in their own country! This is a typical complaint leveled towards English-speaking Canadians by Quebecois Canadians. While Quebecers speak French as their native language, they will expect them to speak English to them when they visit. A nice reminder to us is that we should ask individuals if they speak English respectfully, and if they don’t, we can’t be irritated. No, we don’t want to believe that English is the default language for everyone else.


Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism is actually contributing in either making and also in breaking up of the society. They are affecting the society in the negative term by either contributing to populism, racism and other evils of the society. They are affecting people’s mindset by leaving imprints in their minds especially all the young minds which are the younger generations and hence they are also affecting the society to the greater extent. Sometimes these terms are related to xenophobia and other evils of the society which includes discrimination, racism and stereotyping these are the negative terms which are the negative connotations used now a days.

These have become very common out in the world for example the eating methods and speaking of English. This is practiced even at state level, system level and individual level. Like aforementioned the US intervention of Afghanistan and Iraq as well can be included by using the name of democracy has become a norm now a days. Similarly the acts and practicing of the Islamic teachings can now be a fit to this example and like different cultures of the Islamic religion like suni and shia and their different nature of religious practiced has  also contributed to the major conflict between different countries for example Saudi Arabia and Iraq similarly between Iran and Iraq and also these are happening in Pakistani domestic politics has resulted because of diversion of ethnocentrism and kind of cultural relativism and also because of the rigidity of the diversification of different cultures. This has harmed the Pakistani culture.

As per my point of view these terms like cultural relativism and ethnocentrism can be either used to make and break the society since both are adding up to the negative connotation to the world so as per me they should be used more for the better working and development of the making and for the betterment of the society that is making up of the society.

Muskan Moazzam
Muskan Moazzam
Student of National Defense University, Islamabad , Pakistan.