Positive and Negative Effects of Ethnocentrism in Society

Sun, 09/07/2014 - 08:18 -- Umar Farooq

What is the meaning of Ethnocentrism?

Summer defined ethnocentrism as "that view of things in which ones' own group is the center of everything and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it. From this definition, Horton and Hunt deduce that it is the habit of every group of taking for granted the superiority of its culture.

It means that every culture considers itself superior to other cultures. The. Americans think of themselves as the "Progressive" while the Eastern cultures call them immoral. The Pakistanis call themselves as brave, hard-worker and faithful people. The Arabs call themselves hospitable. Similarly, the people of every nation feel pride and claim superiority upon other nations. This sense of pride or superiority upon others is called ethnocentrism.

Even within a society different social groups are ethnocentric against one another. The agriculturists claim to be superior to laborers and the businessmen are proud upon low class servants. Similarly, high class officers think themselves higher upon other low class servants. This feeling of superiority upon others is universal among nations groups and the individuals. This cultural trait is called ethnocentrism.

Effects of Ethnocentrism in Society

Following are the negative and positive aspects of ethnocentrism. How ethnocentrism affects individuals and society as whole. 

Positive Effects of Ethnocentrism

It encourages social solidarity in groups and in society by which the forces of co-operation become stronger.

It provides protection to group members by, creating sense of belonging among them, Those Members who are weak, poor, hopeless and helpless are encouraged by joining, hands of it with them. It means it provides compensation to the people of low status.

It promotes nationalism and patriotism among the members of society. Because it stimulates the spirit of belonging to the society and. culture claiming superiority to others,

Caste, Biradri and consanguine groups develop by it in which marriage and other social relations are facilitated.

Negative Effects of Ethnocentrism

It creates tight boundaries among various social groups. The inter-group relations are hampered due to prejudice against another. The process of social relations among various groups gets slower.

The prejudice created by it creates conflict and tension among many groups. The social forces of cooperation face problems in their operation.

It limits an individual in a small social group to which he belongs. He remains within the limits of that group and is not influenced by the general social changes happening around him in the society. He remains backward in a sense by this way and adopts little changes. Sometimes even he preaches against modern social changes, it means, it discourages culture change among the people.

The national development in general is slowed down in such cultures when ethnocentrism is emphasized in books, newspapers, radio and television