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Re: [xmca] Taking culture into account/Doing harm?
Sounds like we've found a point of agreement - this raises thorny and
And I certainly agree with your formulation that "culture" shouldn't always
will out. But I would add that science is culture too. (and "culture" is
"science" too - cf. Levi-Strauss). And we're back down the rabbit hole...
On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 1:28 PM, Michael Glassman <MGlassman@ehe.osu.edu>wrote:
> Hi Greg,
> We seem to be going down the rabbit hole here. I guess I'll end by saying
> I think settled science (broadly defined) and human rights should play at
> least some role in most decisions. In some cases it may be best to
> dispense with these, but only after first examining them. I think maybe
> this is one of the reasons Vygotsky stresses the importance of scientific
> concepts while still maintaining the role of everyday concepts in our lives
> is because he saw both as playing important roles. I think one of his more
> interesting ideas is that you needed schools for scientific concepts,
> perhaps because the main goal of many cultures is to recreate themselves
> over generations. Science can certainly be dangerous to tradtions, and
> through it we lose the illusion of stability. A lot of people don't like
> this very much (see Global warming) Every person should have access to
> different types of information, but this can be destabilizing for cultures,
> so there can be a tension. I don't know if this is what Vygotsky meant,
> but this is how I see him right now. Sometimes culture wills out,
> sometimes science and human rights wills out, but it should always be an
> open contest. To give primacy to culture strikes me as an inherently
> conservative position. And as my students pointed out about the Haidt
> book, it is very often the person privileged by culture who takes that
> position - which makes sense when you think about it.
> The question I am struggling with, and what has caused me to go back and
> read cultural psychology readings with a new eye, is what does all this
> mean in the information age. What happens when the thirteen year old girl
> goes online and decided she wants to remain intact, or two, or three. Who
> decides then? And who protect the decision makers?
> From: email@example.com on behalf of Greg Thompson
> Sent: Mon 7/23/2012 3:20 PM
> To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> Subject: Re: [xmca] Taking culture into account/Doing harm?
> sorry, didn't catch what the "it" (male circumcision?) was in the phrase
> "giving my parents a pass on it".
> RE: male circumcision, there is lots and lots and lots of debate:
> I just pulled this up:
> but there is lots more debate out there, and a strong suggestion that it is
> much more than "cosmetic." (and are you suggesting that "cosmetic" surgery
> is an okay thing for doctors to practice).
> And if you read Fuambai's article, there is also debate about how serious
> female circumcision is (and Rick Shweder has often suggested that even a
> nick on the clitoris might be able to count as an effective practice of
> But the question isn't about male and female circumcision. The question is:
> who gets to decide what is right and good and true when it comes to
> people's (whether a child's or adult's) lives?
> Do you really want to leave those decisions up to the doctors?
> I don't.
> On Mon, Jul 23, 2012 at 11:30 AM, Michael Glassman <MGlassman@ehe.osu.edu
> > Hi Gregg,
> > One more thing, to tell you the truth I wouldn't be so thrilled with a
> > bunch of academics giving my parents a pass on it because it was their
> > cultural belief systems. How about you?
> > Michael
> > ________________________________
> > From: firstname.lastname@example.org on behalf of Michael Glassman
> > Sent: Mon 7/23/2012 2:27 PM
> > To: eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
> > Subject: RE: [xmca] Taking culture into account/Doing harm?
> > Greg,
> > Obviously there are different levels of decision making. Male
> > circumcision is basically cosmetic surgery while female circumcision (and
> > perhaps it shouldn't be called that) has lifelong implications. I don't
> > think it is a good comparison. If male circumcision had the same
> > implications I would say no, and be phenomenally angry at my parents -
> > believe they did not have the right in any way to do what they did, I am
> > sure of that. So why would you think many females wouldn't feel the same
> > way. I think it is always better to make decisions based on as much
> > knowledge of people as possible rather than on opaque systems.
> > Michael
> > email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>
> > __________________________________________
> > _____
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> > http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
> Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
> Department of Communication
> University of California, San Diego
> xmca mailing list
> xmca mailing list
Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
Sanford I. Berman Post-Doctoral Scholar
Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition
Department of Communication
University of California, San Diego
xmca mailing list