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Analysis of Ethnocentrism Avatar

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Analysis of Ethnocentrism in Avatar
In the film Avatar, Jake Sully, a human, mentally controls a body that contains cells of the Na’vi natives from the planet, Pandora, and he attempts to learn the culture of the Na’vi. In a long run, the effect of being exposed to enthnocentrism, primitivism, romanticism and exoticism, could have changed Jakes’s decision from helping the humans to helping and living with the Na’vi. The aim of this essay is to explore enthinocentrism and its three areas: the primitive lives of the Na’vi, Na’vi’s romanticism with nature, and the exoticism of Pandora’s features and its inhabitants.
Ethnocentrism is the view of one’s own culture to be superior and normal over the other culture (Lundberg, 2013). To the humans, they view the Na’vi as “blue monkey” (Cameron & Laudau, 2009), and are disrespectful towards their culture. The Na’vi also show the same attitude towards humans, where Eytukan, the clan leader, said that Jake has an “alien smell” (Cameron & Laudau, 2009). The humans view the trees as merely just an obstacle, whereas the Na’vi valued the trees deeply, where they believe that the trees are sacred, and were used to communicate and worship their mother goddess, Eywa. In turn, both sides think of each other as inferior and uncultured creatures from their contrast of their own beliefs.
Primitivism is the view of another culture that is less developed, evolutionary and technologically (Lundberg, 2013). A scene where the Na’vi gives the impression that they are irrational and savage, was when Jake first landed on Pandora, arrows were stuck on the wheels of a huge truck passing by, which show that the Na’vi still attacked the highly developed technologically humans who owns machine guns and giant walking machines, with only their bows and arrows, as the Na’vi did not think that these technology weapons would be harmful and dangerous. Their animal-like behaviour such as howling and snarling, and being able to swing from tree to tree, give a sense of primitivism.

Romanticism is the belief that when people in the past live better, when they were in tune with nature (Lundberg, 2013). Romanticism is clearly evident in the aspects of Na’vi, from their tree home, their close bond with the animals and nature, to the ability to breathe the air of Pandora that is poisonous to humans. These show that even when the humans are well-equipped with guns and machines, surviving on Pandora is still a struggle, which tells how technology have weakened the humans (Lundberg, 2013). Whereas for the Na’vi, they are able to freely move through the trees, able to peacefully live and bond, with the animals, and performing rituals for the departed animals to show respect for the dead, portraying as ‘noble savages’.
According to Lutz and Collins (1993), exoticism is the creation of something that is unusual but alluring as well. The unique features of Pandora, such as the floating mountains, vast variety of luminal-fluorescent flora and fauna, and the spectacular view of the moons and planet, give an unfamiliar, yet eye-catching. The Na’vi has physical traits that are considered attractive, for their slender, tall and muscular physique, being dressed scantily.
In conclusion, when learning about other culture, ethnocentrism allows one have a better understanding of the other, which is seen in Avatar, where Jake gets to experience in Na’vi’s shoes, and realise that they are not ferocious, barbaric creatures that humans thought they were, but are refined and cultured, as the humans, although disparately.

References
Cameron, J. & Laudau, J. (Producers), Cameron, J. (Director). (2009). Avatar [Motion picture]. United States: 20th Century Fox Lightstorm Entertainment.
Lundberg, A (2013). AN1001 Anthropology: Cultural Diversity in Global Perspective, Lecture 2 [Powerpoint Slides]. Retrieved from http://learnjcu.jcu.edu.au/bbcswebdav/pid-1196913-dt-content-rid-889074_1/courses/13-AN1001-SIN-INT-SP52/Colonialism%20%26%20Race_Ethnographic%20Method.pdf
Lutz, C. A., & Collins, J. L. (1993). A World Brightly Different: Photographic Conventions, 1950-1960. In Reading National Geographic. (pp. 87-118). Chicago, USA: The University of Chicago Press.…...

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...unobtanium - a valuable mineral. The planet is inhabitant by Na ‘vi, a blue skinned species which are human like with feline characteristics. As Pandora’s atmosphere does not any human survival, scientists create human-Na’vi hybrids known as Avatars. These avatars are controlled by genetically matched human operators. Jake Sully was sent as a replacement for his identical twin brother who was recently murdered. Jake is a paraplegic war veteran. Dr. Grace Augustine who is the head of the Avatar Program appoints Jake as a bodyguard. In Pandora, Jake escorts Augustine and biologist Norm Spellman. The group was attacked by a large predator and eventually Jake gets separated from his team. Later, he was rescued by Neytiri, a female Na’vi. Hse took Jake to their clan where he was given a warm welcome. Back in the camp, Jake was identified by the leader of RDA security forces colonel Miles Quaritch who promises Jake to get back his real legs in exchange for intelligence about the natives. He was also appointed a task of making the Na’vis to abandon Hometree which was situated above a large deposit of unobtanium. In the meanwhile, Jake grows close towards Neytiri and her clan Omaticaya. Jake started enjoying his life through his avatar and eventually tries to stop his people to destroy the Omaticaya’s peaceful life on the Hometree. Selfridge then decides to destroy the Hometree as he was convinced that the Na’vis will not come accept any other their given negotiations. But......

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Ethnocentrism

...(Ethnocentrism vs. Cultural Relativism) As a Sociologist, should we practice Cultural Ethnocentrism or Cultural Relativism? We must first understand the two distinct theories regarding perception of outside cultures: Ethnocentrism and Cultural Relativism. Ethnocentrism is judging another culture solely by the values and standards of one's own culture.[1] The ethnocentric individual will judge other groups relative to his or her own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behavior, customs, and religion - these ethnic distinctions and subdivisions serve to define each ethnicity’s unique cultural identity.[2] The logical alternative to ethnocentrism is Cultural relativism, the practice of judging a culture by its own standards. Cultural relativism can be difficult for certain individuals to adopt: it requires not only openness to unfamiliar values and norms but also the ability to put aside cultural standards we have known all our lives.[3] No one ethnic group has the right to say that their particular system of beliefs and values are in any way superior to anyone else’s system of beliefs and values. What is right for one culture might be wrong for another. There is no absolute standard of right and wrong by which to compare and contrast morally contradictory cultural values. Ethnocentrism and cultural relativism are mutually exclusive. The social sciences are limited to what can be observed, measured and verified. The question of what...

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