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Ethnocentrism

  • By: Lawrence E. Estaville
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Ethnocentrism means that a group of people views the world from its own distinct set of cultural values, or ways of living and thinking. This bias typically leads to feelings of superiority in its relationships with other groups. Ethnocentrism varies widely in type and degree among cultures.

Ethnocentrism makes appreciating cultural diversity difficult if not unattainable. Indeed, most people do not understand that they do not understand other people's cultural values. People may try to be genuinely empathetic to those with different cultural values, but even geographers, anthropologists, and sociologists fail in ridding themselves of subconscious predilections.

Bigotry and racism can emanate from ethnocentrism. Extreme ethnocentrism can cause ethnocide or genocide. Ethnocide is the killing, either unintentionally or intentionally, of a group's culture by another group. For ...

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