Understanding Etic and Emic Perspectives

Etic perspectives are universal truths and principles that are adopted all over the globe. They are common ways by which all people do things. Emic perspectives on the other hand vary from one culture to the other. In summary, there are variations only in emic perspectives due to diversified ways of practicing etic perspectives and etics are focused on similarities while emics are focused on differences.

Kinds of Etics in Social Life

Besides greetings, other etics that apply in our social life today include mental disorders, diseases, child discipline and aggression.

The common trait that qualifies all the above as etics is the fact that they can be identified similarly by diverse cultures across the world. It is easy for any cultural community to identify a person with a mental disorder due to the similarity in characteristics of patients with the same disorder globally. Diseases are known by their symptoms universally, for example, the same symptoms that a person suffering from malaria in Africa will portray are the same that one with the same diagnosis in America will.

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Throughout the world, it is easy to identify a well-disciplined child by their response to instructions given to them even by their parents at home. As much as our day to day activities may differ, there is an undocumented standard of discipline that the whole world expects from children in order to consider them disciplined. Lastly, aggressive behaviour draws attention regardless of the culture one belongs. It is such an unusual trait to the normal human being that its existence at any time indicates the presence of a problem or simply disagreement among individuals.

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The same is assumed universally.

Christians versus Muslims

Christians believe in God while Muslims believe in Allah. From the etics listed above, child discipline is a common one between Christians and Muslims and is considered a necessary and compulsory measure. However, from this etic, certain emics arise in terms of the mode of punishment. While Muslims may have a specified way for instilling discipline for every gender, Christians adopt various techniques as per their subcultural divisions and depending on their preference; some are harsh while some are modest. In addition to this, Muslims have an elaborate of life that extends from their religion all the way to their homes while Christians have more freewill to make choices on the kind of life they choose to live outside their religious culture.


If not well balanced, etic and emic perspectives could lead to creation of more prejudices that remind people of the cultural differences that could prevent them from correlating.


  1. Berry, J.W. (1969). On cross-cultural comparability.
  2. International Journal of Psychology, 4, 119-128.

Cite this page

Understanding Etic and Emic Perspectives. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/understanding-etic-and-emic-perspectives-essay

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