Chapter 2: Applying Cultural Relativism to Cannibalism

An image of a skull, shown in black and white, with a black background.
Photo by Ahmed Adly on Unsplash.

2.1 What is kuru?

2.2 How do we mourn?

2.3 Death Rituals

  • Christianity is a diverse religion (like all others) and there is not one universal belief about burial in that community. But, burial commonly considered to be the best way to dispose of a dead body because, in many Christian communities, the body needs to remain intact in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. Burying preserves the body and allows the body to be resurrected upon Jesus’ return.
  • In Hinduism and Buddhism, it’s preferred to cremate a body because it’s believed that cremation allows the soul to be freed from the body. In this case, the soul may be reincarnated in a new life or it may achieve the higher existence of “samsara” where it is freed from all suffering.

2.4–2.6 Research on Death Rituals

2.7 Cultural Relativism and Cannibalism

  • not interested in making moral judgments
  • not interested in creating a cultural hierarchy

2.8 Researching Kuru

2.9 Cultural Requirements for Cannibalism

  • A belief in a supernatural human spirit
  • A belief that the spirit can live on after death
  • A cultural acceptance of the cyclical nature of life

2.10 Cannibalism in Catholicism/Christianity

  1. First, the firm belief in the practice of cannibalism.
  2. Second, a person who sacrifices themselves to be consumed as the ultimate sacrifice.
  3. Third, a belief that the consumption of the sacrificed person unifies them spiritually with the sacrificed person, so that the sacrificed person’s spirit lives on.

2.11 Revenge Cannibalism

Additional Material






Cultural Anthropologist in Los Angeles

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

Why Humans Are Unique Beings

Molecular Scientists Have Discovered A Way To Make “Computers” From Liquid Crystals

Scientists 3D Print Microscopic USS Voyager With Its Own Propulsion

A Gentle Introduction to the Wolfram Physics Project

A Technical Overview on the Interface Between Carbon Nanotubes and a Polymer Matrix

The quest for human uniqueness

How Scientists make it rain

Rna World Hypothesis Ppt Presentation

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Amanda Zunner-Keating

Amanda Zunner-Keating

Cultural Anthropologist in Los Angeles

More from Medium

The Magical Realism of Kuthiraivaal

England’s babbling chalk streams, a habitat compared to the rainforest, are witnessing a staggering…

Death of a Nameless (3/5)

Sri Ramana, the St. Christopher of our time, and the notion of the “personal narthex”