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Ethnocentrism

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Analysis of Ethnocentrism: From the Individual to the International


Introduction to Sociology
November 12, 2013
Introduction
Ethnocentrism is a natural and common psychosocial phenomenon that happens through societal and individual conditioning of social norms and expectations (Axelrod & Hammond, 2006). Its outcomes and effects are diverse, and sometimes maladaptive making it a vital part of studies in sociology and anthropology. Ethnocentrism is related to cultural relativism and is the belief that our group and culture is the correct way of viewing the world, thinking and is reflected in the values, practices and behaviors of one group in relation to another (Cooper, 2013).   The negative implication is when a group or individual measures and judges all other groups’ behaviors and values in relation to their own group’s beliefs.  
Human beings are social and cultural beings who learn right and wrong, preferences, and world view from their ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic origins and upbringing (Charon, 2013). These concepts take the form of preferences, attitudes, morals, ideas of right and wrong and even prejudices and biases. Over the last century, sociology has established the important role that social circumstances play in developing personality and determining reactions and behaviors. Ethnocentrism is a sociologically based study and is vital in applying to diverse and pluralistic societies such as the United States especially in the face of the ever-growing global community that increases multi-cultural and cross-cultural exchange (Scupin, 2012).  
Types of Ethnocentrism & Theoretical Perspectives
Ethnocentrism, in its extreme forms leads to prejudice, racism, dominance, oppression, and justification for intervention and war.   The study of ethnocentrism is core to understanding all types of ethnic cleansing, racial wars and especially the Holocaust. For instance, German Nazis believed themselves racially superior to Jews and justified the...

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