Social Science Essay Dorothy Lee

1065 Words Mar 24th, 2013 5 Pages
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 …show more content…
American observers found that there was no attempt to toilet trains these babies. Astonishingly, these babies were able to let their mom know that they had to “minciate” at the age of only 6 months old. It is the mother who trains herself to feel the signs of the baby when he/she wants to minciate. The mother “sensitizes herself to the rhythm and helps the baby adopt social discipline with spontaneity” (Lee, 8). The end results of this is that the baby is toilet trained at a very young age and his autonomy remains unaltered because his mother has the patience to listen to him. The society in which we live in has such a huge effect on us that even the way we talk to our children can affect the their personal autonomy. The children of the Wintu Indians ask for information by simply saying “can I” (Lee, 6).By simply saying this, elders know that the children are asking for information on the rules of structure. Another example would be when a child is seeking information on the rules of a structure like religion. The child would say” is it permissible for me to” or “do you allow me to” (lee, 6). This shows that it is not the freedom of the elders to give to the child. They are showing their respect for the child and” their awareness of the unique temple of the individual” (lee,6). In conclusion, Dorothy Lee shows the respect some societies have for each other’s individual integrity, being from child rearing to even the language. She wants us to

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