What do you understand about the term ethnocentrism? Using one or more examples show how anthropology might help us overcome it.

Essay by absshibaUniversity, Bachelor's November 2014

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Contrasts and Continuities as an Independent Learning Module

What do you understand by the term ethnocentrism? Using one or more examples, show hoe anthropology might help us overcome it.



Ethnocentrism is arbitrating another culture merely based on their social norms, principles and standards of one's own culture. Ethnocentric individuals adjudicate other ethnic groups (out-groups) relative to their ethnic groups (in-groups) particularly in regards to practises, rituals, language and faith. These cultural segmentation and discrepancies serve to express each cultures exclusive distinctiveness. Ethnocentrism may be unequivocal or understated and though considered a natural tendency of human psychology and has therefore established a generally undesirable implication. This essay will give an elaborate discussion on what ethnocentrism is, how it effects our society and the ways anthropological thinking may help us overcome ethnocentric thinking.

"The technical name for the view of things in which one's own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it' (Sumner, 1906) William G. Sumner founded the term 'ethnocentrism' upon witnessing the propensity for individuals to distinguish between their own cultural group and others.

Sumner broadened ideology stating that ethnocentric behaviour regularly precedence in vanity, pride and belief that one's own group is contempt to outsiders and therefore more superior (Sumner, 1906).

Individuals from specific ethnic backgrounds will group up absorbing the ethics, morals and attitudes, consequently developing an ideology that their culture is the norm (S.S. Seidner 1982). When confronted with other cultures that have dissimilar norms and values, they will find the inherited behaviour appropriate to their birth cultures. However, because these individual have adapted solely to their birth culture they may find it difficult to accept and understand a culture different from their own.

Anthropology is the study of humankind both retrospective and present,