Culture has been a great part of our diverse world. Culture has helped us understand why people behave in certain ways. Culture is used as a link to understanding many questions of peoples actions. In light of many debates of culture used as political controversy the question, “who owns native culture? ” is brought up to the forefront. In the usual political arena, culture is used as an identity for a political claims. American politics tolerates and encourages differences so this may pose a big problem. Culture can make people separate as if they lived in a different world. Many people forget the interrelatedness and differences of culture.Order now
Benhabib views social constructionism as the view of our world through our own perspective. A culture is a potential source of power and control. The definition of culture is a combination of many different narratives. A classic example is the control in the colonial situation that consisted of laws to govern people. Colonial authorities help to create an ‘Indian culture’. Indian culture is like mosaic pieces. Benhabib defines it as, “the view that human groups and cultures are clearly delineated and identifiable entities that coexist, while maintaining firm boundaries, as would pieces of a mosaic.
” (Benhabib 8) Culture is defined in contrast to yours. We define culture with counter distinction to ourselves. The colonial rule over what ‘Indian culture’ is an example of this phenomenon. Benhabib and Brown both have similar views to the answer of the question, ‘who owns native culture? ‘ They both emphasize the fluidity of culture. They do this by recognizing the individual without dismissing the group. Culture is always changing and has many varieties. They try to reason a dialogue that recognizes individuality and not with artificial categories.
Reification, making an abstract concept concrete, is an important aspect to remember. Benhabib and Brown warn us of this reification of culture in the emphasis on the fluidity of culture. They also emphasize that there is no longer a culture in the world that has not contacted with others. It shows us that when we exaggerate differences we dismiss the idea of interrelatedness of culture. Brown states, “I wish simply to point out the risks of taking too rigid a view of cultural ownership, especially when technological and social changes are making cultural boundaries ever harder to identify.
” ( Brown 251-252) Benhabib uses the critiques Universalism, relativism, recognition, and redistribution. These are philosophical grounds to have a deeper appreciation of Brown. Universalism and relativism are tools to make judgments about policy with claims of culture. Universalism is a basic transcending value that applies to everybody. It is very hard to identify and suggest a stark difference between universal values and many different places. The problem with universalism is that it dismisses cultural differences too quickly and lock culture within artificial contact points.
Cultural relativism is the idea that if a place is doing it then it is okay. It is essentially opposite of Universalism. Relativism emphasizes the differences between cultures and therefore reduces concern with the individual and focuses solely on the culture. The ideas of Universalism and Relativism can help us understand the constrictiveness of each concept, which in turn can help us understand culture. Redistribution and Recognition can also help us understand culture claims. Redistribution is the idea of moving resources to people who did not receive it. Recognition is giving someone something because of who they are.
It doesn’t have to be ethnic or religious with the example of the women’s rights movement. These two concept can also be inflicting to cultural claims because of the changing and varieties of culture. Benhabib does not give a definitive answer yet emphasizes individuality rather than artificial categories. Benhabib urges us to rather dismiss Universalism and Cultural Relativism because emphasizing differences is unrealistic and undemocratic. There is no reason why you cannot hold (political dialogue) conversation that can overlap and give people who are victimized a chance to tell their story.
Productiveness is produced when you start sharing notions of trouble and commonality rather than emphasizing differences. It is a careful balancing act of all these elements that can help us understand the complexity of the question, ‘who owns native culture? ‘ Benhabib critiques analytical questions to then processing it, with the conclusion that culture is fluid and recognizes this as concrete rather than stigmatize it with undemocratic philosophies. Brown states, “My account emphasizes the virtue of striking a balance between the interests of indigenous groups and the requirements of liberal democracy.
This often leads to the awkward middle ground that Isaiah Berlin once described as a ‘notoriously exposed, dangerous, and ungrateful position. ‘ My centrist stance is inspired by what I found in many of the places I visited; thoughtful people coming together to negotiate workable solutions, however provisional and inelegant. Their success, achieved one at a time, convinced me that grandiose, one-size-fits-all models of heritage protection are likely to hinder rather than encourage improved relations between native peoples and the nation-states in which they find themselves citizens. ” (Brown 9)
Brown doesn’t believe that heritage is all bad but that the power of belief is too hard to prove. Brown accepts that heritage exists yet when you make a decision to protect the place you must look at practices. As the example of the Navaho tribe. They did not base their argument on religious beliefs but the evidence of their practice. The question to who owns native culture can be answered in many ways. Brown states, instead of asking who owns native cultures, but “How can we promote respectful treatment of native cultures and indigenous forms of self-expression within mass societies?
The cases documented here suggest that the quest for dignity in the expressive life of indigenous communities will best be advanced through approaches that affirm the inherently relational nature of the problem. ” (Brown 10) Brown suggests that it would include, “judicious modification of intellectual property law, development of workable policies for the protection of cultural privacy, and greater reliance on the moral resources of civil society. ” (Brown 10) In conclusion, Brown and Benhabib feel that they’re really no one that owns native culture.
It is our common knowledge that culture has been a very porous and variable entity to be reified. People move and travel so much that all culture has been touched by other influences by some way or another. As Brown states in the above paragraph it is the question how can we promote respective treatment of native cultures that has captured another way of looking at the question, ‘who owns native culture? ‘
Reference: 1. Benhabib, Seyla. The claims of culture: equality and diversity in the global era. 2002, New Jersey. Princeton University Press. 2. Brown, Michael F. Who Owns Native Culture? 2003, USA. President and Fellows of Harvard College.