«Ethnocentrism» - Great Essay Sample


There is no doubt that modern world is quite multiethnic. Ethnically homogeneous communities are considered to be a rare exception. That is why since the XXI century, the theme of interethnic communication and intercultural interaction became globally important. Nowadays, it is difficult to imagine the world without ethnic conflicts, nations and nationalism, and with compatibly observed ethnic revival and harmonious inter-ethnic communication. The concept of national and ethnic identity has changed in the era of globalization, and it is still difficult to estimate to what extent.

Modern sciences make emphasis on the importance of the phenomena that destabilize interethnic relations and their thorough study. One of such significant notions is ethnocentrism. Ethnocentrism is a psychological process when the behavior of other cultures and their representatives is perceived and evaluated through the prism of their own culture (Preiswerk & Perrot, 1978). Ethnocentrism usually implies that own culture is superior to the other cultures and is regarded as the only possible choice surpassing and underestimating all other variants. Anything that deviates from the norms, customs, values, habits, and behaviors of their own culture is considered low-brow and is classified as poor in relation to the norm. Own culture is put in the center of the world and is perceived as the measure of all things. Ethnocentrism means that the values of other cultures are considered and evaluated in terms of one’s own culture.

A good example of ethnocentrism is the emergence of so-called "hot spots" such as Nagorno-Karabakh, Ingushetia, Chechnya, and Ulster and the presence of the persistent long ethnic conflict with the armed forces; for instance, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the recent events in Yugoslavia and India prove it (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2010). Until the mid XX century, many scientists believed that the ethnic and national factor will lose its importance in people's lives as a result of the trends of modernization, globalization, civil society development, and further strengthening of the integration of cultural trends, political and economic processes in the world (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2010). However, history has shown that ethnicity and nationalism not only remained but also have gained larger significance in the world.

Reevaluation of the ethnocentric culture can be found in many nations around the world. The high rating of their own culture and criticism of other cultures is based on the fact that many nations and tribes at their early stages of historical development identified themselves as "human" creatures, and everything that was found outside their culture was labeled as "inhuman" or "barbaric" (Preiswerk & Perrot,1978). Such beliefs are found in many nations around the world including the Inuit of North America, the African Bantu, Asiatic San people in South America, and the Munduruku (Preiswerk & Perrot, 1978). Ethnocentrism was also widespread in the times of European colonizers as the majority of Europeans considered non-European inhabitants of the colonies socially, culturally, and racially inferior, and their own way of life, of course, as the only true and proper one. If the natives had different religious beliefs, they became pagans or were called immoral. If they did not try to work hard, they were considered to be lazy; and if they did not share the view of the colonialists, they called them stupid (Samovar, Porter & McDaniel, 2010). By proclaiming their own standards, absolute Europeans condemned any deviation from the European way of life avoiding the idea that the natives may have their own standards.

As a conclusion, it should be said that nowadays, there is a real danger of self-destruction of mankind generated by technological progress. In this regard, there is a strong need to humanize all areas of public relations and the need to improve the cooperation between the countries, ethnic groups, classes, and various social groups. However, the unprecedented scale of national, ethnic, and regional movements that are often hard-edged and quite violent is in clear contradiction with many international economic trends and communicational issues required to acquire global integration.



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