Social Science Essay Dorothy Lee

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In this chapter, Dorothy Lee’s reading gave us a good view of different types of cultures and the personal autonomy of the people .Lee believes that “the principle of personal autonomy is supported by the cultural framework" (lee,5) She explores this by comparing our Western society to several north American aboriginal societies. When we think of our society we are only free to do things to a limit. Whether that limit may be good or bad, otherwise our individual autonomy is restricted in this society. The key problem that Dorothy Lee is addressing in this reading is the conflict between individual autonomy and social structure. Lee presents different material from a number of different societies to show “how the principle of personal autonomy is supported by the cultural framework” (lee, 1). She shows that this conflict has been resolved in the aboriginal society. In this essay I will talk about the respect the Natives have for each other’s individual integrity. Lee says “In every society we find some organized social unit; but not everywhere does the social unit provide freedom to the individual or the opportunity for spontaneous functioning; nor do we find a value for sheer personal being” (Lee, 7). In particular I will show how this situation has been resolved, when she talks about child bearing in the Wintu Indian society. In every society there are different forms of child rearing. Dorothy Lee shows us that in certain societies, children are not treated different or as minorities. Children are treated with respect and there is a mentality that “it is not the right of the parent to give permission or freedom because it is not within their right to give” (lee, 6). Therefore, the Wintu Indians believe that through guiding their child and not commanding them, it will not affect the child’s personal autonomy. The Wintu Indians believe that it is important to listen to a child’s opinion and feelings. They do this because they try really hard to not have...
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