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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 was coined by American sociologists Donald P. Kent and Robert G. Burnight in the 1952 paper "Group Centrism in Complex Societies" published in the American Journal of Sociology.[2][4] The term remained obscure but considered useful and occasionally used by other sociologists.[4] The University of Florida treats it as a key term of Sociology.[5]

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]

In his doctoral dissertation, Steven James Lawrence suggests it may be an influential in making consumers buying decisions as they might have "favorable orientations to products from outside their membership group.[6]

Puja Mondal cited some examples from India:

"People in India often assume that British lifestyle (dress pattern, etc.), French fashion or Japanese electronic devices (TV, tape recorders, mobile set, washing machines, etc.) and Swiss watches are superior to their own."

— [7]

Grace Susetyo suggests "the idea that foreign cultures and their elements are superior to the local" causes a crisis of cultural identity among Western-educated Indonesians and is a problem that needs to be eradicated.[8]

The Academy of International Business is studying "out of group favoritism and in-group derogation" as a consumer effect in the Chinese consumer market.[9]

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 c 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.
  4. ^ a b Robert K. Merton. The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. University of Chicago Press. p. 108. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Introduction to Sociology". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  6. ^ ""Consumer Xenocentrism And Consumer Cosmopolitanism: The De-Velopment A" by Steven James Lawrence". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  7. ^ "Sociology of Culture: Concepts Involved in Sociology of Culture". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  8. ^ Grace Susetyo. "Perception of Xenocentrism and Cultural Identity in Western-Educated Indonesian Teenage Music Students". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  9. ^ http://www.learningace.com/doc/5288844/06157278446862e26c535c63efead796/aib2006_proceedings p.254