db 6 anth 001 physical anthropology A+ Writers | apluswriters.net


Human evolution has been distinctly shaped by the development of culture, and there are several hypotheses that discuss how culture might have developed in our species. Perhaps these traits evolved through evolutionary mechanisms…perhaps they are a byproduct of our increased intelligence and our enhanced ability to track social relationships. Like genetic traits, cultural traits can be transmitted between individuals and change over time (though the mechanisms differ).

The term cultural relativism refers to the idea that beliefs and ethics are relative to the individual within his or her own social context, and there is no universal standard of morality. Cultural relativism opposes the idea of ethnocentrism (the tendency to view one’s own culture as superior, and apply one’s cultural values in judging other cultures). The following case demonstrates an example of conflicting beliefs on cultural relativism:

In 1997, Annette Sorensen, 30, an actress from Copenhagen, Denmark, and Exavier Wardlaw, 49, a movie production assistant from Brooklyn, NY, were arrested for leaving their 14-month-old daughter outside a Manhattan restaurant on a chilly day, while they ate inside the restaurant. They left her in her baby carriage on the sidewalk. The baby carriage was parked right outside the window and visible to the parents inside the restaurant. Many passersby called 911 to alert the police. New York authorities took the child away from her parents and temporarily placed her in foster care.

Sorensen, and others who are familiar with childrearing practices in Denmark, argued that the police did not respond appropriately.


  • Very common practice to leave babies outside of cafes in Denmark (often to avoid smoke, not seen as harmful)
  • Almost religious conviction that fresh air (preferably cold air) is good for children
  • Common for babies to nap outside (even in freezing weather) wrapped up in comforters
  • Strong culture of “trust”

Sorensen claims that “people live in fear [in the US]. Children are not allowed to play in the playground alone.” She states that Danish parenting styles are based on the idea of “tillid,” a deep trust that is an essential part of the culture.

There are two main paradigms of thought, when it comes to laws, regulations, and culture. Universalists argue that human rights are universal and should apply to every human being. Cultural relativists argue that using a “one size fits all” approach to morality tends to biased toward Western ideals and is a form of cultural imperialism.

Q: What are your thoughts on the Sorensen case and the universalist vs. cultural relativist debates?

Answer about 8 sentences

And comment on 2 other students posts for about 5 sentences each.

The two students responses for comment are coming tomorrow.

You can give the main response first.