Anthropology studies the phenomenon of human, not simply human’s mind,his body, origins, tools, art, or groups alone, but as parts or aspects of ageneral pattern, or whole.1To emphasizes this fact and make it a part of their ongoing effort, anthropologistshave brought a general word into widespread use to stand the phenomenon, andthat word is culture.2The term ‘culture’, in its broadest sense, attempts to bring human’s actionsand meanings down to the most basic level of significance, to examine them inuniversal terms in an attempt to understand them.3When we speak of people belonging to different cultures, then, we are referringto a very basic kind of difference between them, suggesting that there arespecific varieties of the phenomenon of human. The fact that anthropology choosesto study human in terms that are at the same time so broad and so basic, tounderstand both human’s uniqueness and their diversity through the notion ofculture, poses a peculiar situation for the society.4The idea of culture, in other words, places the researchers in aposition of equality with its subject: each ‘belongs to a culture’.5Because every culture can be understood as a specific manifestation. Or example,of the phenomenon of human, and because no infallible method has ever beendiscovered for ‘grading’ different cultures and sorting them into their naturaltypes, we assume that every culture, as such, is equivalent to every other one.
This assumption is called “cultural relativity”.6The combination of these two implications of the idea of culture, the fact thatwe ourselves belong to a culture (relative objectivity), and that we shouldassume all cultures to be equivalent (cultural relativity), leads to a generalproposition concerning the study of culture.7As the repetition of the stem ‘relative’ suggests, the understanding of anotherculture involves the relationship between two varieties of the human phenomenon;it aims at the creation of an intellectual relationship between them, anunderstanding that includes both of them.8The idea of ‘relationship’ is so important here because it is more appropriateto the bringing together the two equivalent entities, or viewpoints, thannotions like ‘analysis’ or ‘examination’ with their pretensions of absoluteobjectivity.
9 Inexperiencing a new culture, the people might come to realize a newpotentialities and possibilities for the living of life, and may undergo apersonality change themselves. However, the immediate problems facing the beginningof a cultural exchange are not likely to be academic or intellectual; they arepractical, and they have a definite cause.10Disorientedand dazed as people may be, they often encounter a good deal of trouble ingetting settled and making contacts. All these circumstances stem from the factthat people are usually uncomfortable with a stranger in their midst, moreespecially with an outsider who may be crazy, dangerous, or both.
11Often they create difficulties for them to have is as ‘defence’, to keepstrangers at a distance or at least stall them off while they are consideredand examined more closely. These delays, defences, and other ways of puttingoff the strangers are neither necessarily hostile (though they may be) norunique in human interaction.12’Distance’ of this sort is a common occurrence in the beginning stages of whatmight possibly become a close personal involvement, such as friendship or alove affair, and it is commonly pointed out that too much familiarity at thispoint would tend to undermine mutual respect of the parties concerned. 13