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Encyclopedia > Ethnocentrism
Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage is seen by many Europeans as the "discovery" of the Americas, despite the fact that humans first reached it some 12,000 years prior.
Christopher Columbus' 1492 voyage is seen by many Europeans as the "discovery" of the Americas, despite the fact that humans first reached it some 12,000 years prior.

Ethnocentrism is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture. It is defined as the viewpoint that “one’s own group is the center of everything (better than all other cultures),”[citation needed] against which all other groups are judged. Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one's own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups. Within this ideology, individuals will judge other groups in relation to their own particular ethnic group or culture, especially with concern to language, behaviour, customs, and religion. These ethnic distinctions and sub-divisions serve to define each ethnicity's unique cultural identity. Image File history File links Broom_icon. ... Image File history File links Digital ID: cph 3b49587 Source: color film copy slide Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-1687 (color film copy slide) , LC-USZ62-3006 (b&w film copy neg. ... Image File history File links Digital ID: cph 3b49587 Source: color film copy slide Reproduction Number: LC-USZC2-1687 (color film copy slide) , LC-USZ62-3006 (b&w film copy neg. ... Christopher Columbus (1451 – May 20, 1506) was a navigator, colonizer, and explorer and one of the first Europeans to explore the Americas after the Vikings. ... For other uses, see Culture (disambiguation). ... This article or section should be merged with ethnic group Ethnicity is the cultural characteristics that connect a particular group or groups of people to each other. ... Cultural identity is the (feeling of) identity of a group or culture, or of an individual as far as he is influenced by his belonging to a group or culture. ...


Anthropologists such as Franz Boas and Bronislaw Malinowski argued that any human science had to transcend the ethnocentrism of the scientist. Both urged anthropologists to conduct ethnographic fieldwork in order to overcome their ethnocentrism. Boas developed the principle of cultural relativism and Malinowski developed the theory of functionalism as guides for producing non-ethnocentric studies of different cultures. The books The Sexual Life of Savages, by Malinowski, Patterns of Culture by Ruth Benedict and Coming of Age in Samoa by Margaret Mead (two of Boas's students) are classic examples of anti-ethnocentric anthropology. Anthropology (from Greek: ἀνθρωπος, anthropos, human being; and λόγος, logos, knowledge) is the study of humanity. ... Franz Boas Franz Boas (July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942[1]) was one of the pioneers of modern anthropology and is often called the Father of American Anthropology. Born in Germany, Boas worked for most of his life in North America. ... For the Olympic champion athlete see Bronislaw Malinowski (athlete). ... Ethnography ( ethnos = people and graphein = writing) is the genre of writing that presents varying degrees of qualitative and quantitative descriptions of human social phenomena, based on fieldwork. ... Field work is a general descriptive term for the collection of raw data in the natural and social sciences, such as archaeology, biology, ecology, environmental science, geology,geography geophysics, paleontology, anthropology, linguistics, and sociology. ... Cultural relativism is the principle that beliefs and activities should be interpreted in terms of his or her own culture. ... Functionalism is a term with several senses: For functionalism in sociology, see Functionalism (sociology). ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article or section may require cleanup. ... Coming of Age in Samoa, first published in 1928, is a book by Margaret Mead based upon the youth in Samoa and lightly relating to youth in America. ... Margaret Mead (December 16, 1901, Philadelphia – November 15, 1978, New York City) was an American cultural anthropologist. ...

Contents

Usage

In political relations, not only have academics used the concept to explain nationalism, but activists and politicians have used labels like ethnocentric and ethnocentrism to criticize national and ethnic groups as being unbearably selfish — or at best, culturally biased (see cultural bias). Eugène Delacroixs Liberty Leading the People, symbolising French nationalism during the July Revolution 1830. ... Cultural bias is the phenomenon of interpreting and judging phenomena by standards inherent to ones own culture. ...


Nearly every religion, "race," or nation feels it has aspects which are uniquely valuable.


Other examples abound: Toynbee notes that Ancient Persia regarded itself the center of the world and viewed other nations as increasingly barbaric according to their degree of distance.[citation needed] Arnold Joseph Toynbee (April 14, 1889 - October 22, 1975) was a British historian whose twelve-volume analysis of the rise and fall of civilizations, A Study of History, 1934-1961, was a synthesis of world history, a metahistory based on universal rhythms of rise, flowering and decline. ...


China's very name is composed of ideographs meaning "center" and "country" respectively, and traditional Chinese world maps show China in the center. It's also important to note that it wasn't just China that bought into this idea. At the height of the Chinese empire, the Japanese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Thai also believed China to be the center of the universe and referred to China as the middle kingdom. To this day, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam still refer to China as the middle country.


It is often claimed that England defined the world's meridians with itself on the center line, so that to this day, longitude is measured in degrees east or west of Greenwich, thus establishing as fact an Anglo-centrist's worldview. In fact the real reason is rather different, since Greenwich was at the time the foremost astronomical observatory and the idea of making the Greenwich meridian zero had a practical consequence in that it put the 180 degree meridian (International Date Line) in a place that inconvenienced the smallest number of people.[citation needed]


Native American tribal names often translate as some variant on "the people"; other tribes were labeled with often pejorative names. This article is about the people indigenous to the United States. ...


The United States has traditionally conceived of itself as having a unique role in world history; an outlook known as American exceptionalism.[citation needed] Progress of America, 1875, by Domenico Tojetti American exceptionalism (cf. ...


Psychological underpinnings of ethnocentrism

The psychological underpinning of ethnocentrism appears to be assigning to various cultures higher or lower status or value by the ethnocentric person who then assumes that the culture of higher status or value is intrinsically better than other cultures. The ethnocentric person, when assigning the status or value to various cultures, will automatically assign to their own culture the highest status or value. Ethnocentrism is a natural result of the observation that most people are more comfortable with and prefer the company of people who are like themselves, sharing similar values and behaving in similar ways. It is not unusual for a person to consider that what ever they believe is the most appropriate system of belief or that how ever they behave is the most appropriate and natural behavior. Image File history File links Question_book-3. ...


A person who is born into a particular culture and grows up absorbing the values and behaviors of the culture will develop patterns of thought reflecting the culture as normal. If the person then experiences other cultures that have different values and normal behaviors, the person finds that the thought patterns appropriate to their birth culture and the meanings their birth culture attaches to behaviors are not appropriate for the new cultures. However, since a person is accustomed to their birth culture it can be difficult for the person to see the behaviors of people from a different culture from the viewpoint of that culture rather than from their own.


The ethnocentric person will see those cultures other than their birth culture as being not only different but also wrong to some degree. The ethnocentric person will resist or refuse the new meanings and new thought patterns since they are seen as being less desirable than those of the birth culture.


The ethnocentric person may also adopt a new culture, repudiating their birth culture, considering that the adopted culture is somehow superior to the birth culture. Throughout history, warring factions have been composed of fairly homogeneous ethnic groups.[citation needed] Ethnic strife is seen dominating the landscape in many parts of the world even to this day. Evolutionary psychology posits that the reason for these groupings stems from the alignment of interests among members of these groups due to their genetic similarity.[citation needed] In this vein, van den Berghe (1981) sees ethnocentrism as a natural outgrowth of nepotism. A comprehensive look at ethnocentrism from the perspective of evolutionary psychology may be found in the volume edited by Reynolds et al. (1987). Look up nepotism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...


Independent of evolutionary psychology, observers such as Shelby Steele have suggested that ethnocentrism is a mainstay of any modern society, and in cases such as the white and black population in the USA, programs such as affirmative action serve only to relieve the moral consciences of the white population. Shelby Steele (born 1946, Chicago) is an American author, columnist, documentary film maker, and a research fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, specialising in the study of race relations, multiculturalism and affirmative action. ...


References

  • Reynolds, V., Falger, V., & Vine, I. (Eds.) (1987). The Sociobiology of Ethnocentrism. Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press.
  • Salter, F.K., ed. 2002. Risky Transactions. Trust, Kinship, and Ethnicity. Oxford and New York: Berghahn.
  • Sow, Adama:, ed. 2005 Ethnozentrismus als Katalysator bestehender Konflikte in Afrika südlich der Sahara, am Beispiel der Unruhen in Côte d'Ivoire at: European University Center for Peace Studies (EPU), Stadtschleining (German)
  • van den Berghe, P. L. (1981). The ethnic phenomenon. Westport, CT: Praeger.

The European University Center for Peace Studies (EPU) is an international, non-governmental organisation with UNESCO status, and is affiliated to the Austrian Study Center for Peace and Conflict Resolution (ASPR), also located at Stadtschlaining. ...

Journals

  • Group Processes and Intergroup Relations, Sage Press.

Types of ethnocentrism

see African studies for the study of African culture and history in Africa. ... Eurocentrism is the practice, conscious or otherwise, of placing emphasis on European (and, generally, Western) concerns, culture and values at the expense of those of other cultures. ... The Sinocentric World: The area of usage of Chinese characters at its maximum extent (to a considerable extent following the borders of the Qing dynasty). ...

See also


  Results from FactBites:
 
Ethnocentrism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1263 words)
Ethnocentricity is the tendency to look at the world primarily from the perspective of one's own culture.
Ethnocentrism often entails the belief that one's own race or ethnic group is the most important and/or that some or all aspects of its culture are superior to those of other groups.
Ethnocentrism is a natural result of the observation that most people are more comfortable with and prefer the company of people who are like themselves, sharing similar values and behaving in similar ways.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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