Gorman Case

Topics: Culture, Anthropology, The Culture Pages: 3 (804 words) Published: November 11, 2012
This case in particular is a clash between two cultures; the modern medicine culture of Linda Gorman and the traditional cure lu Mien culture of Mrs. Saeto. Before casting judgment on who is right and who is wrong with regards to Marie, it is important to decode these two particular cultures so we can distinguish the differences between the American culture and the lu Mien culture; considering upon reading about the burns, most if not all Americans would agree that this curing practice is barbaric and abusive. Every culture comes with stories, symbols and world views; and often times they are in disagreement. For instance, at the heart of the lu Mien culture is the theory of animism, “the view that the world is inhabited by spirits that reside in things, including people” (Hachen, n.d.) Not to mention the cure used on Marie is also considered a ceremony in lu Mien culture, thusly the objects used have symbolic value (Hachen, n.d.) With regards to Linda’s modern medicine culture; this practice comes with rituals in the form of examinations, symbols with regards to white walls and various sterile instruments used to conduct the examinations, and worldviews with regards to science and the scientific method. Upon differentiating the two cultures, we come to the conclusion that in the American culture the acts bestowed upon Marie are wrong and potential harmful, while the lu Mien culture considers them useful and effective. Therefore, we encroach upon the dilemma of cultural relativity, “the view that practices and behaviors can be judged only by the cultural standards of the culture in which those practices occur” (Hachen, n.d.). In a situation such as this, if we disregard cultural relativity it will certainly imply that there are universal standards by which the practices in all cultures can be evaluated. “The problem with this position is that often when people claim there are such universal standards, it turns out that those standards are just the standards of...
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