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Xenocentrism is the preference for the products, styles, or ideas of someone else's culture rather than of one's own.[1] The concept is considered a subjective view[clarification needed] of cultural relativism.[2] One example is the romanticization of the noble savage in the 18th-century primitivism movement in European art, philosophy and ethnography.[3]

Origin of the term[edit]

Xenocentrism has been used in social philosophy to describe a particular ethical disposition.[citation needed] The term is opposed to ethnocentrism, as coined by 19th-century American sociologist William Graham Sumner, which describes the natural tendencies of an individual to place disproportionate worth upon the values and beliefs of one's own culture relative to others.[2]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Merton, Robert K. "Insiders and outsiders: A chapter in the sociology of knowledge". American Journal of Sociology (1972): 9–47.


  1. ^ Johnson, Allan G. (2000), The Blackwell Dictionary of Sociology: A User's Guide to Sociological Language (2 ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, p. 351, ISBN 978-0-631-21681-0 
  2. ^ a b Kent, Donald P. and Burnight, Robert G. "Group centrism in complex societies". American Journal of Sociology (1951): 256–259.
  3. ^ Ellingson, Terry Jay. The Myth of the Noble Savage. University of California Press, 2001.