Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The nature of Ethnocentrism

Culture shock can be an excellent lesson to relative values and in understanding human differences. The reason culture shock occurs is that we are not prepared for these differences.

Because of the way we are taught our culture, to some degree we are all “ethnocentric”. The term of ethnocentrism is derived from two words, ethno or nation and kentron, or center. Thus it refers to the fact that our outlook or world view is centered on our own way of life.

Ethnocentrism is the belief that one’s own patterns of behavior are the best: the most natural, beautiful, right or important. It is the process of judging another culture using the standards of one’s own culture. Therefore other people, to the extent that they live differently live by standards that the inhuman, irrigational, unnatural, or wrong.

Ethnocentrism leads members do ethnic groups to view their culture as superior, as the one that other cultures should adopt.

Ethnocentrism also leads to prejudice against foreigners, who may be viewed as barbarians, uncultured people or savages.

People will find aspect of another culture distasteful, be it sexual practices, a way of treating friends or relatives, or simply a food that they cannot manage to get down with a smile.

Ethnocentrism creates a strong sense of group solidarity and group superiority, but also discourages intercultural or intergroup understanding.

A good example is seen in nationalism, the sense of identity that arises when one group exalts its own culture over all other groups and organizes politically and socially around this principle.
The nature of Ethnocentrism

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