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Towards the Development of Objective, Universal Criteria of Cultural Evaluation: The Challenges Posed by Anti-Foundationalism, Culturalism and Romanticism

Johnson, Matthew

Social Indicators Research, Jun 2011, Vol.102(2), pp.275-296 [Peer Reviewed Journal]

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  • Title:
    Towards the Development of Objective, Universal Criteria of Cultural Evaluation: The Challenges Posed by Anti-Foundationalism, Culturalism and Romanticism
  • Author/Creator: Johnson, Matthew
  • Language: English
  • Subjects: Studies ; Social Research ; Culture ; Quality of Life ; Experimental/Theoretical ; Social Trends & Culture
  • Is Part Of: Social Indicators Research, Jun 2011, Vol.102(2), pp.275-296
  • Description: Over the course of the last century, it has become increasingly unfashionable in the social sciences to make cross-cultural evaluations. The advance of cultural relativism has ensured that criticisms of other cultures are regarded as subjective and ethnocentric. There remain, however, cultural beliefs, practices and traditions which appear, prima facie, to contradict people's interests. Are there any means of evaluating such practices or cultures according to objective, universal criteria? If there are, these need to withstand a series of challenges posed by 'relativist' critics of objectivity and universality. This article categorises these challenges, detailing anti-foundationalist belief in a conflation of perception and truth, culturalist belief in the overwhelming importance to wellbeing of living according to one's group's traditions, and a romantic challenge, which invokes anti-universalism only instrumentally, to particular aspects of Western culture. In order to overcome these...
  • Identifier: ISSN: 03038300 ; E-ISSN: 15730921 ; DOI: 10.1007/s11205-010-9680-x