From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Sociology (Rated Start-class, Mid-importance)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Sociology, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of sociology on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 Mid  This article has been rated as Mid-importance on the project's importance scale.


There is a difference between nationalism and ethnocentrism. Zionism is the former, not the latter, so I've removed it from the list of types of ethnocentricity. - June 2, 2008 4:40 EST

The former draws on the latter, but I agree. I see no specific case for Zionism. forestPIG 21:43, 2 June 2008 (UTC)
No way, Zionism is based on the belief that the Jewish ethnicity own Israel because god has chosen them as they are ethnically superior to gentiles. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:45, 12 November 2008 (UTC)

This makes a good point about Zionism and ethnocentricism. Zionism is, by strict definition, nationalism. It is the underlying Judaism that argues ethnocentric beliefs. In fact, Judaism is probably the most deliberate iteration of tribalism in the modern world, as exemplified by the distinction between the Jews and the goyim (who are repeatedly defined in the Talmud as just animals with a human form), not to mention the various schemes of the "Elders of Zion". Cheers : ) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:45, 6 September 2009 (UTC)

No cheers to you, nazi.

Zionism is nationalism and the belief the Jewish people should have their own state. This movement was formed after it was believed only a state could provide them the security they needed in what was perceived as rising anti antisemitism and pogroms, even before the holocaust. Zionism's founding fathers were influenced by the famous Dreyfus affair. Nationalism helps fuel Ethnocentrism like religion, but is simply a small part and is not enough to consider it Ethnocentrism on it's own. At first it was considered to set a state in Uganda but eventually it was decided that the land of Israel, whom the Jewish people have roots in, is the most fitting place. I'm not sure if they believe it was given to them by God or not but the main point I try to deliver is that it's not the only or even the primary consideration the then-leaders of the Zionism movement had as they had history in that land and if they had 2,000 years to do it and God gave it to them, why didn't they act until then? It was the need for security. Seeing as they were not bend at first on setting a state in that area, and considering they had historic considerations, I do not believe that is enough to put Zionism under Ethnocentrism. Zionism means to provide a state for the Jewish people for protection and self-determination, hardly means they views themselves as superior to others. And to the last two unnamed contributors who prefer to shift the discussion to Judaism from Zionism, in the bible it says they were the last people to be approached by God after all the people turned his laws down, and they accepted him, so I don't see any sense of superiority to those former people who were asked first in their bible. Avraham123 (talk) 17:32, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

Ethnocentrism and Judaism/Zionism[edit]

Currently User Cush Finds It necessary to put Judaism and Zionism here, Which though the Core tenets may be the ethnocentric. (Chosen people and What not) Singling out one culture is highly unnecessary as all cultures are ethnocentric; picking Judaism especially which is prone to such a negative reactions. He has reverted his inclusion for 3 times i am removing it again. Weaponbb7 (talk) 23:04, 18 April 2010 (UTC)

Judaism is an ethnocentric religion, maybe even the archetype of an ethnocentric theology. There is every reason to include it in the list. And there is no other religion with a comparable ethnocentrism (except maybe Rastafarianism, which features an extended afrocentrism). · CUSH · 23:28, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Continuing your crusade against Abrahamic Religions is unwise, Every Religion and culture is ethnocentric to one degree or another Judaism is no exception no reason to single it out. Weaponbb7 (talk) 23:43, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
Neither Christianity nor Islam are in any way ethnocentric. Buddhism and Hinduism are also not ethnocentric. Shintoism is. I could go on and on, and Judaism would end up being in a very small number of ethnocentric religions. To say that "every religion and culture is ethnocentric to one degree or another" is simply wrong. Please educate yourself. · CUSH · 23:50, 18 April 2010 (UTC)
The concept of Jihad as it being used is entirely an ethnocentric thing. as I recall you accused me of wanting your dead because my because my god of christianity demands it. Both sound like perfect examples of like perfect example of ethnocentricity beliefs. Weaponbb7 (talk) 00:14, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Jihad, in whatever interpretation, has nothing whatsoever to do with ethnicity. And please use substantiated arguments, not just urban legends you only have half a hunch about. · CUSH · 10:10, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
Ethnocentricity is About Culture not Ethnicity though ethnicity can be a factor. Weaponbb7 (talk) 13:09, 19 April 2010 (UTC)
And?? That makes Judaism even more ethnocentric, in sharp contrast to other religious concepts. It is not me who singles Judaism out, it is Judaism that does so.
Of course I understand why you don't want the inclusion of Judaism in the list, because it might imply the xenophobia which is indeed inherent in ancient Judaism, and afaik in some modern variants as well. · CUSH · 11:09, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
There is no dispute about whether it is ethnocentric but if we add Judaism here we need to add every culture on earth as every culture is ethnocentric a list of every culture would be long and unnecessary. Weaponbb7 (talk) 14:20, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

I have appied for a third Opinion in here at the 3rd opinion notice board to hopefully bring in an outside view. Weaponbb7 (talk) 14:23, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

What argumentation is that? You agree that Judaism is ethnocentric and yet you reject the inclusion in the list? This list includes ideologies that are ethnocentric, not "cultures", so Judaism as almost the only ethnocentric religion fits very well into that list. · CUSH · 16:46, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
My opinion, which I think I made clear in the NPOV section above, is that I'm not blown away by the depth and understanding of claiming that there are cultures that aren't ethnocentric.--Iavram (talk) 10:31, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

Third opinion: Adding Judaism to the list is pushing a WP:POV and is unacceptable. Without significant coverage in multiple reliable sources showing that Judaism may be ethnocentric, it's really just one editor's POV, and therefore does not belong in the article. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 14:37, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Dont Say That, he can find the sources that say are Ethnocentristic. Its about whether it the Jew Should be singled out when every culture is ethnocentristicWeaponbb7 (talk) 14:42, 20 April 2010 (UTC)
I don't really see that happening. I Googled for "judaism ethnocentric" as Cush suggested in this edit. Nothing that comes up there can really be considered a reliable source. Further, the consensus (for now) is against inclusion. Cush is more than welcome to escalate this issue if s/he feels really strongly about it, but I think that the inclusion is just pushing a strong POV that most would disagree with. — HelloAnnyong (say whaaat?!) 15:04, 20 April 2010 (UTC)

Every religion and many cultures are Ethnocentric to some degree, with Crusaders spreading ideology to the 'heathens' in the past and missionaries in far off lands and holy wars initiated by the most powerful Islamic Imams and the belief Jahallyiah have no rights to land ownership on Earth. Every person who has a religious belief believes he's right and others are not, or are incomplete and only provide half-truths. Perhaps religion in general should be considered as a major factor for Ethnocentrism but no one religion should be singled. Avraham123 (talk) 17:49, 2 August 2010 (UTC)

I think both statements are incorrect. To state that one spacific culture or religion might be ehtnocentric is just as incorrect as it is to state that all are or can be ethnocentric. In order for a group to be ethnocentric each individual must believe in such unity that there is no diversity within the culture, religion, or group. In other words, it depends more on the individuals view points and these individuals must all be part of one group with all individuals in agreement with each other within that group. It could be possible that all religions or groups are ethnocentric and it could also be possible that only certain ones are ethnocentric, but considering mankind's diversity, human development, patterns of humanity, and the ability to change those patterns, neither statement is true. (ShanSam10 (talk) 02:07, 9 November 2010 (UTC))

In fact, the original statement in the article says that ethnocentrism is " the tendency to believe that one's ethnic or cultural group is centrally important". NOTE the word "ONE'S", meaning that it is the individuals opinion about their group, culture, religion, ect. that has the "tendency" to be ethnocentric; not necessarily making the entire group, culture, religion, ect. ethnocentric. (ShanSam10 (talk) 02:13, 9 November 2010 (UTC))

To equate all religions is to suggest that, for example, Catholicism and Judaism operate the same way relative to racialism. It's simply not true. The "Chosen People" mythos is likely the root cause of Western anti-Semitism. To not mention Judaism/Zionism in this article, when 'Jewish X, Y and Z' are covered in articles throughout Wiki - is shameful but typical. The idea is that any criticism of Jews or Judaism is "racist" which is a principle that ironically probably feeds into anti-Jewish racism more than, say, pointing out how many of the Russian oligarchs have been Jewish in a country where Jews are a tiny minority. Facts shoudl be presented qua such, fairly - it is absurd to not mention the hyperethnocentrism of Judaism here. "Is it good for the Jews?' is a bit of rhetoric which captures this heightened group-concern. This isn't to say it is 'bad' which is a value judgment, but to say that it *exists*. To not do so is censorship. 'fealveritagh' — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:39, 11 October 2011 (UTC)

NPOV dispute[edit]

The concept of ethnocentrism that I learned in school refers to the universal tendency to view people of one's own group more centrally than others. This may but doesn't necessarily have to manifest itself as the view that other groups are necessarily inferior to one's own (counter to what is suggested in the article, which states that out-groups are necessarily viewed as inferior, by definition). To me, it seems like the article only focuses on ethnocentrism insofar as it is a negative trait, and a basis for abuse.

Of note is Festinger's Social comparison theory, which suggests that ethnocentrism has the legitimate basis of subjective validation of a person's beliefs through social comparison, to help establish what is socially appropriate on an individual level. Also, one study[1] found that children exhibited ethnocentric preference while they were still too young to conceptualize the notion of nations.

I don't have a specific reference that says so, but intuitively, it seems to me like transcending ethnocentrism needs to be learned, as opposed to the claim in the article that ethnocentrism itself is learned. (update: this last point has since been addressed)

Iavram (talk) 18:19, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

  1. ^ Tajfel, H., Nemeth, C., Jahoda, G., Camplbell, J., & Johnson, N. (1970). The development of children's preference for their own country: A cross-national study. International Journal of Psychology, 5, 245-253.
Let me put my complaint about the article in non-technical terms: there's nothing racist about saying "my race isn't racist, but yours is"? (note: replace "racism" with your favorite form of in-grouping.) --Iavram (talk) 16:20, 18 September 2009 (UTC)
I know that the NPOV dispute hasn't gotten response after a long time, but I still see it as a benign request for consensus. --Iavram (talk) 22:06, 3 October 2010 (UTC)
I don't disagree with the reason for the removal of the NPOV tag, but I find it very surprising that nobody has put serious thought into the article. --Iavram (talk) 15:00, 25 November 2010 (UTC)

A few criticisms[edit]

This article is not good for several reasons.

First, the definition given (at least at the top of the article) seems to imply willful bias, discrimination, etc. against other cultures. But it seems like ethnocentrism is most often unintentional and subconscious. That is, a very general definition might be the tendency to see other cultures through the lens of one's own cultures' beliefs and values. This could come from a genuine belief that one's culture is superior, or it could just come from a lack of introspection. I think the article tries to get to this later on, but it comes across as being somewhat biased because of the lead paragraph.

Likewise, I think the article is overly narrow on why ethnocentrism is bad. Ethnocentrism, in addition to causing "pride, vanity, beliefs of one own group's superiority, and contempt of outsiders", also has a tendency to impede the understanding of others' cultures, or to create a distorted and shallow understanding. That is why it is bad, especially in the social sciences (but also in areas like international diplomacy, immigration policy, etc.)

Finally, the article itself rambles and is poorly organized. It cites ideas and research at key points which are at best digressions, and some of the claims appear to be specious. I think, for example, the entire paragraph which starts by citing Butler's work and then refutes it with an equally obscure reference is superfluous, and the claim that non-Western languages lack dichotomies is bizarre (and itself smacks of the Eurocentric "noble savage" myth).

Authors cited in such a short article should be those who have directly addressed the topic; perhaps on the issues of ethnocentrism in the sciences, literature, policy, etc., and the overall article should be more direct and less scholarly. At the very least, it would make it more accessible to someone actually interested in learning what "ethnocentrism" means and how it relates to them. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:39, 22 October 2009 (UTC)

As for additional references, I found this helpful: Sutherland, L. (2002). Ethnocentrism in a pluralistic society: A concept analyis. Journal of Transcultural Nursing, 13, 274. Mischal NS (talk) 23:03, 21 December 2011 (UTC)

I agree that ethnocentrism may often arise in situations which are unintended or subconscious. And I agree that the article can afford to be a little less one-sided than it is now. While spending a great deal of effort denouncing ethnocentrism, it leaves out the fact that there are also attempts to explain ethnocentrism (and in-grouping in general) as ordinary phenomenon. The theory by Festinger, for example, is probably in any decent social psych textbook. (edit)..Although I can understand someone not trusting a psychologist on the subject of inter-ethnic relations at this particular moment in time. --Iavram (talk) 17:45, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

So is ethnocentrism/ethnocentric a word for how ethnic groups feel or think about others? I always thought it was a word for a country where 90%+ of the population is of the same ethnic group and nationality. So what word would I use to describe Croatia and Japan if I was to just say that there is mostly one ethnic group living in both countries without saying anything about their political views? I mean what neutral word can I use to describe this? English is not my first language. — Preceding unsigned comment added by AdalDrottinn (talkcontribs) 12:52, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Chosen people revert[edit]

This revert, besides interjecting personal opinion, misses the point that chosen people is a general article about the topic, not restricted to Jews; the more specific article is Jews as a chosen people. And by the way, there are references saying that chosenness in Judaism is ethnocetrism. [1] Tijfo098 (talk) 08:15, 2 April 2011 (UTC)


The view that ethnocentrism could be explained via kin selection is due originally to the founder of the idea, esteemed biologist WD Hamilton. I just don't have the first hand reference available, so I chose to quote Dawkins. Just wanted to make clear that it's not pop-sci.--Babank (talk) 00:17, 4 April 2011 (UTC)

oxytocin fad[edit]

A 2011 paper in PNAS suggested that ethnocentrism may be mediated by the oxytocin hormone. It found that in randomized controlled trials "oxytocin creates intergroup bias because oxytocin motivates in-group favoritism and, to a lesser extent, out-group derogation".

Alright, guys. Give me a break. Apparently, oxytocin moves heaven and Earth these days. It's getting a little ridiculous. A theory overly simplistic enough to consider any large scale social phenomena to be an exclusive integral result of oxytocin is silly. Not only is oxytocin not that important in the grand scheme of things, but it isn't even all that important in the little scheme of things either. It's just one of the few not-testosterone non-estrogen (ie non-dimorphic) sex hormones we've discovered thus far. It's "mystical" to us, so we come up with these over-zealous theories about it.

So apparently, this hip new fad is emerging. Any concept or paradigm that involves sex is the result of oxytocin. Since these paradigms include men as well as women, we can't just attribute it to either testosterone or estrogen...hey, I know! Let's use oxytocin! I read about it in Women's Health!

This oxytocin bs is pop science, and I say it should be ousted from the 'pedia. I'm going to check out the "source", but honestly, if the source is that pop culture and elementary to consider oxytocin responsible for ethnocentrism, then let's get real, it probably isn't reliable.

Important note: there's a big difference 'oxytocin may cause ethnocentrism' and 'oxytocin may play a (small) role in ethnocentrism.' Charles35 (talk) 03:36, 22 November 2012 (UTC)

Not Sumner[edit]

According to the OED, Sumner did not coin the word.

1900 W. J. McGee in Ann. Rep. Bur. Amer. Ethnol. 1897–98 831 In primitive culture the epocentric and ethnocentric views are ever-present and always-dominant factors of both mentation and action. 1907 W. G. Sumner Folkways i. 13 Ethnocentrism is the technical name for this 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.  

Keahapana (talk) 23:59, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Spring cleaning overdue[edit]

I am referring the article to WP:CLEAN due to extensive problems, including:

  • confusing syntax and basic mechanical errors
  • formatting problems, e.g. a sentence fragment apparently meant as a subhed
  • unaddressed concerns about the accuracy of statements and reliability of sources.

For now, the mechanical issues are the main ones I'm asking for help on. Let's get the article reduced to readable English before we get into the thornier issues. -- ob C. alias ALAROB 16:49, 21 May 2018 (UTC)

I went in and did some clean up. I'm not sure if it is good enough though.Funplussmart (talk) 21:41, 8 June 2018 (UTC)
UPDATE: I went in again and completely fixed the formatting and syntax. I therefore replaced the syntax template with a reliable sources template. Funplussmart (talk) 18:41, 25 June 2018 (UTC)
I deleted this line: “In biology, ethnocentrism is considered a natural condition of mankind.” And this source: Strategy and Ethnocentrism (Routledge Revivals) written by Ken Booth, publisher Routledge 2014 ISBN 1317670302 pages15-16. Because I read the source & it doesn’t support the content.Salstergropman (talk) 17:43, 23 July 2018 (UTC)