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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] One example is the romanticization of the noble savage in the 18th-century primitivism movement in European art, philosophy and ethnography.[2] Xenocentrism is countered by ethnocentrism, the perceived superiority of one's own society to others.[3] Both xenocentrism and ethnocentrism are a subjective take on Cultural relativism.[4]

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.[5][6] Kent and Burnight state that feelings of xenocentrism are caused by three possible factors; individuals who have familial ties to a foreign country, specifically 2nd or 3rd generation immigrants, those who oppose the political choices of their native country, an example of this being the Communist Party USA whom idealized the Soviet Union and its anti-capitalist government, and individuals who are exposed to other cultures and grow disenchanted with and rebel against their own society.[4] The term remained obscure but considered useful and occasionally used by other sociologists.[6] The University of Florida treats it as a key term of Sociology.[7]

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.[5]

Consumer Xenocentrism[edit]

In his doctoral dissertation, Steven James Lawrence suggests xenocentrism may be an influential in making consumers buying decisions as they might have "favorable orientations to products from outside their membership group.[8]

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."

— [9]

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.[10]

George Balabanis and Adamantios Diamantopoulos further defined consumer xenocentrism to be a multi-dimensional construct by which to explain consumer affinities for foreign products. [11] They define consumer xenocentrism to be rooted in two concpets, perceived inferiority of domestic goods and aggrandized perception of foreign products. [11]

The Academy of International Business is studying "out of group favoritism and in-group derogation" as a consumer effect in the Chinese consumer market.[12]

Consumer Xenocentrism Scales[edit]

Lawrence uses the definition of xenocentrism, conceived by Kent and Burnight, to describe propose a potential scale, CXENO, to predict how xenocentric views of non-domestic goods affects consumer behavior.[8] The most recently proposed scale to quantity xenocentric consumer tendencies, XSCALE, includes both instances of social and consumer xenocentrism. [13]

Economists have have begun to include consumer xenocentrism, along with other consumer centrisms such as consumer ethnocentrism and consumer cosmopolitanism, in their analysis of consumer behavior. [14] Most recent research has looked at how these three centrisms impact one another. [14]

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. ^ Ellingson, Terry Jay. The Myth of the Noble Savage. University of California Press, 2001.
  3. ^ LeVine, R. A. (1 January 2001). "Ethnocentrism". International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Pergamon: 4852–4854. Retrieved 2 March 2017. 
  4. ^ a b Kent, Donald P.; Burnight, Robert G. (1 January 1951). "Group Centrism in Complex Societies". American Journal of Sociology. 57 (3): 256–259. 
  5. ^ a b Kent, Donald P. and Burnight, Robert G. "Group centrism in complex societies". American Journal of Sociology (1951): 256–259.
  6. ^ a b Robert K. Merton. The Sociology of Science: Theoretical and Empirical Investigations. University of Chicago Press. p. 108. Retrieved December 28, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Introduction to Sociology". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  8. ^ a b ""Consumer Xenocentrism And Consumer Cosmopolitanism: The De-Velopment A" by Steven James Lawrence". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  9. ^ "Sociology of Culture: Concepts Involved in Sociology of Culture". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  10. ^ Grace Susetyo. "Perception of Xenocentrism and Cultural Identity in Western-Educated Indonesian Teenage Music Students". Retrieved 17 June 2015. 
  11. ^ a b Balabanis, George; Diamantopoulos, Adamantios. "Consumer Xenocentrism as Determinant of Foreign Product Preference: A System Justification Perspective". www.ama.org. American Marketing Association. Retrieved 28 February 2017. 
  12. ^ http://www.learningace.com/doc/5288844/06157278446862e26c535c63efead796/aib2006_proceedings p.254
  13. ^ Rojas-Méndez, José I.; Chapa, Sindy (1 January 2017). "Rescuing Xenocentrism: The Missing Construct in Consumer Behavior—An Abstract". Creating Marketing Magic and Innovative Future Marketing Trends. Springer, Cham: 1089–1089. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-45596-9_200. 
  14. ^ a b Prince, Melvin; Davies, Mark A.P.; Cleveland, Mark; Palihawadana, Dayananda. "Here, there and everywhere: a study of consumer centrism". International Marketing Review. 33 (5): 715–754. doi:10.1108/imr-06-2014-0205. Retrieved 27 March 2017.