A look at the sociology of ethnocentrism

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A look at the sociology of ethnocentrism

Check new design of our homepage! In case you're wondering what the concept of ethnocentrism exactly is, this OpinionFront article gives you an explanation as well as some examples to help you understand it better. Sumner, who coined the term ethnocentrism, is famously known as America's first sociology professor.

He taught social sciences at the Yale University. It is wondrous, really, how this world is made up of so many different people belonging to different races or ethnicities.

Sociology Ethnocentrism Essay

There's nothing wrong with ethnicity, to be honest. It just means a group of people practicing or following the same culture. However, what happens when ethnocentrism takes over?

Ethnocentrism is judging another culture based upon the values and standards set in one's own culture. It is a form of bias, where we tend to immediately judge another culture as 'bad' or 'wrong' based upon their actions, if their values are not aligned with our own beliefs.

Does this concept seem familiar to you? We all do it, some time or the other, mostly not even realizing that we're being ethnocentric at that moment. Though not always so, the concept of ethnocentrism has gained more of a negative tone owing to discrimination on ethnic grounds.

Psychology tells us about the concept of in-groups and out-groups, where one tends to agree with the beliefs and actions of one's in-group such as race, religion, or ethnicity, for example and judge or have biased opinions about the out-groups such as other religions or ethnicities.

The term ethnocentrism was coined by William G. Sumner, after having observed people distinguish or discriminate between their in-groups, and other groups. Ethnocentrism is thus the tendency to consider one's own culture or race to be superior over all others.

Though it is present in little forms in every culture, history has shown us how it can have tragic consequences if not controlled. Ethnocentrism might seem similar to ethnic pride, which is having pride for your culture and values, but there is a very fine line separating the two.

Hitler believed that Jews, as well as people belonging to some other communities were all inferior to his ethnicity, and did not deserve to live. He had thousands and thousands of innocent people slaughtered in concentration camps, all because they weren't of his 'pure' race, which was, according to him, superior among all.

Though ethnocentrism is not always this extreme, history does tell us stories about how the concept and prejudice that rose from it, took such a turn for the worse, and had horrible consequences. The most famous example of it would be European imperialism, where European countries believed that the other areas of the world, such as Africa, America, India, etc.


European countries establishing their colonies in other parts of the world is an example of ethnocentrism: Terrorism and hate crimes take place when one religion or community believes that it is superior, and better than any other religion or community.

However, ethnocentrism can make individuals feel as if the other community is bad, or wrong, and can make them take action in the form of terrorist attacks or hate crimes. One example of ethnocentrism portrayed in a light manner would be the movie, 'The Big Fat Greek Wedding', where a Greek family believes that being Greek is the one and only acceptable way of living.

However, the makers of the movie took great care to make sure that the Greek culture was never shown in a negative or pushy manner, and that the audiences took it in the way it was supposed to be taken.

Another example of ethnocentrism in movies is the legendary movie, The Godfather.

A look at the sociology of ethnocentrism

Racial slurs, discriminatory opinions about African-Americans, and the male domination depicted in the Italian community are all examples of ethnocentrism, as befitted the time the story was set in.

Ethnocentrism can be seen on a large scale in business, and at the workplace. For instance, an employee may refer to his client as a 'moron' if the client needed some time to understand whatever the employee was trying to tell him. A business owner might yell at his foreign employees and call them stupid because of their different races, cultures, or values that are different from the boss'.

Another business owner based in a developed country may refuse to merge with a company that is originally based in a developing country because he believes that the developing country is very inferior to his own. Ethnocentrism thus is a part of business and is experienced at the workplace, but if it is not controlled, it has the capability to even destroy a company.

Many experts agree that focusing a curriculum, say a world history curriculum, only on the history of the major developed countries and ignoring the developing and underdeveloped countries altogether, is an example of ethnocentrism in schools. Children are taught only the greatness of one country, which might lead them to develop prejudices against other countries.

Sometimes, teachers and teaching patterns can also be slightly discriminatory, which leads to ethnocentrism. The students belonging to minority communities can feel sidelined, targeted, or ignored.

Choosing to buy a good is actually an individual choice, and judging someone on the basis of their taste or preference is not a good idea. Consumer ethnocentrism has become much more obvious since globalization, and consumers affected by ethnocentrism believe that purchasing foreign goods is unpatriotic, as it does not support the domestic economy but helps foreign economies instead.

This belief has led to political meddling among the matters of other countries, leading to misunderstandings and miscommunication between different countries in the world. The present-day politics are a good example of the same.

Here, the country as a whole can be considered as one group, or the in-group. Various aspects of culture such as mythological tales, folktales, legends, religion, songs, proverbs, language, rituals, etc.Within the Ph.D.

in Social Science is an optional concentration in Mathematical Behavioral Sciences, supervised by an interdisciplinary group of faculty.. Within the M.A. in Social Science, students may apply directly to the concentration . Ethnocentrism is the act of judging another culture based on preconceptions that are found in values and standards of one's own culture.

Ethnocentric behavior involves judging other groups relative to the preconceptions of one's own ethnic group or culture, especially regarding language, behavior, customs, and alphabetnyc.com aspects or . Please provide help with an assignment on the causes and effects of ethnocentrism.

Be sure to include a definition of ethnocentrism and a look at the origins of the term. Thank you. Richard Machalek, Department of Sociology, University of Wyoming, European Sociobiological Newsletter, #53, September [I]t is worth devoting a bit of attention to some of the ideological perils and pitfalls associated with explanations that try to explain how the traits and behaviors of victims can contribute to their own victimization, an .

Sociology Ethnocentrism Sociology Project 2 As we take a look back into the past, even the eras in which we haven't lived, it is evident that ethnocentrism has been a curse of a problem for centuries/5(1). Recent Examples on the Web. The people of Refugio have a strong, ethnocentric identity and a grit and determination born of being raised in harder times than these.

— Carmen K. Sisson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Grit and the gridiron rescue a town," 18 Oct. His Ba'ath Party is fiercely nationalist and ethnocentric, focused on the .

Ethnocentrism, Basic Concepts of Sociology Guide