How Does Ethnocentrism Affect Culture?
There is no doubt that countries experience the adverse influences of ethnocentrism if their residents have created a distinct set of cultural traditions and view other custom and norms as inferior to their. One should note that people, who live in one place including a country or region, usually adopt peculiar behaviors, attitudes, languages, as well as dress code. The study of ethnocentrism in the world and its substantial effect on human lifestyle and society is of vital importance. Almost all countries face this tendency, including the United Arab Emirates. The development of the UAE and its continuous achievement in various segments has forced people from the gulf regions to accuse the Emirati people for being ethnocentric. Taking into consideration the findings of the study, the national satisfaction of the success of the country’s economy should not be considered an ethnocentrism.
Hammond and Axelrod define ethnocentrism as a universal syndrome that involves discriminatory behavior, opinions, as well as attitudes (926). The authors state that there are factors that substantially increase the ethnocentric actions of in-groups. They include the country’s origin and current achievements of the society. However, the psychological evidences point to the existence of “the prevalence of a strong individual predisposition toward bias in favor of in-groups, which can be observed even when cognition is minimal and social input very abstract” (Hammond and Axelrod 927). It is significant to underline that the ethnocentric opinions and actions may be caused by the emergence of local competition among individuals or social groups. However, they may be any explicit distinctive features between the evolutionary procedure for competing with representatives of inner groups and the evolutionary process for competing with representatives of other groups or even nations on the global arena. Moreover, Hammond and Axelrod argue that ethnocentrism can help to maintain contingent cooperation that has the form of in-group favoritism (928). The process does not demand the use of such mechanisms as reputation, reciprocity, as well as leadership (Hammond and Axelrod 928). Rosenblatt states, “Sensing the advantage of ethnocentrism or nationalism for themselves and for the group, military, administratively, and otherwise, group leaders frequently act to increase group ethnocentrism” (133). The author shows that the issue of ethnocentrism might be increased by leaders of in-groups.
Furthermore, ethnocentrism also exists in valuing one’s traditions and cultural heritage. Ahmed claims that Western feminists have managed to reject the cultural myths concerning Western females, as well as their irrationality and inferiority (526). However, in present societies, they still continue discuss the myths regarding Muslims, Muslim females and harems. In addition, they consider themselves superior to the Arab women. One should support the statement of Ahmed who writes that the docility towards the attitudes of Western culture, especially feminists, has created substantial barriers between nations (526). However, such opinions may be explained by the fact that nations do not favor the concepts of ethnocentrism but their cultural heritage. Moreover, when people favor the success of their country, it helps to increase the level of its development and, ultimately, assists in improving the level of human life.
One should agree with the fact that people do not develop strong loyalties to their society or ethnic group in order to discriminate other cultural minorities or people from other counties. There are certain factors that can strengthen and weaken such tendencies. Moreover, Cashdan states that psychological surveys underline the fact in-group favoritism does not provoke out-group threat and hostility (760). The writer argues, “The threat to the group that arises from catastrophic food shortage enhances ethnic loyalty without increasing hostility to outside groups” (Cashdan 760). The evidences also prove that the hostile behavior even does not take place even if the threats arise from other groups or nations. The interethnic hostility and ethnic loyalty have different determinants. However, it does not mean that they are not related to each other. It is explained by the fact that competition and threats from outside groups of people serve as a force in the process of increasing the level of ethnic loyalty. In addition, the lack of correlation between the two notions encourages the support of a peaceful multiethnic condition. It also suggests that the flowering of a nation is not a concept to fear (Cashdan 763).
Hsu observes that people in all countries relate to each other by feelings and usefulness (520). The author says that there exists both positive and neutral ethnocentrism (Hsu 522). The emergence of positive ethnocentrism plays a positive role in the process of national development. People with neutral ethnocentrism view the actions of one’s in-group as right whereas the behavior of all out-groups is considered wrong. However, proponents of neutral ethnocentrism have no intention to alter the attitude to groups, which they see as inferior and wrong (Hsu 522). For example, military conquests of one nation by the other were widespread in the world history. They prove the fact that positive ethnocentrism does not provoke outrage or hostility (Hsu 522).
One should underline that the proponents of positive ethnocentrism have brought benefits and disasters to many countries. For instance, foot binding dominated in China for more than ten centuries. Hsu writes, “The lack of internal impetus to change that only three scholar-officials seem to have raised feeble voices against the custom during that long period” (524). However, the missionaries abolished this tradition by spreading the public-health measures of the West. Moreover, they also spread the notion of universal education, ideology of socialism and democracy, as well as the movements for establishing equality and human freedom (Hsu 524). These are the examples of positive ethnocentrism that help to improve the living conditions and economic development of other societies. In addition, Rosenblatt states that ethnocentrism satisfies physic needs of the nation and helps to find an effective form of social organization (133). The evidence shows that the notion of national satisfaction does not necessarily point to the existence of ethnocentrism.
However, there are also people who do not agree with the statement that the national satisfaction of the success of the country’s economy should not be considered an ethnocentrism. In their article titled “Ethnocentrism: Theories of Conflict, Ethnic Attitudes, and Group Behavior,” LeVine and Campbell provide the readers with the facts that justify the existence of ethnocentrism in the global societies. The authors state that social groups return hostility with hostility in both behavior and attitudes. Moreover, the increasing scarcity of the resources heightens intergroup conflict (LeVine and Campbell 488). The paper also focuses on the fact that group differences are typically exaggerated in intergroup stereotypes.
According to LeVine and Campbell, ethnocentrism exists everywhere in the surrounding world (448). Furthermore, willingly or unwillingly people are influenced by the ethnocentrism. LeVine and Campbell use examples to validate their point that one may consider as not strong enough to support their argument. As an example of out-group hate, which the authors define as a characteristic of ethnocentrism, the article uses the poor training of children in the out-group countries or group of people (LeVine and Campbell 449). One should agree that despite the fact ethnocentric people usually think that they are superior upon others, ethnocentrism does not mean ignorance.
The other opponents are Klein, Ettenson, and Morris, who in their article titled “The Animosity Model of Foreign Product Purchase,” draw the attention of audience to the situation in China. The authors try to prove their claims by the example with China. For instance, China’s customer inclination has shifted towards the local products whereas in the Eastern and Middle Eastern countries people prefer to buy foreign products over the local products. The latter ones believe that foreign company’s products would be of better quality and standard compared to local market products. They emphasize the value of foreign products purchase over the local products. Such a trend varies from country to country. China is the largest producer of electronic gadgets and other low priced products. In this country, the local products is preferred over the foreign products because of the belief that local companies are better manufactures than any other foreign companies (Klein, Ettenson, and Morris 94). However, it does not prove the existence of ethnocentrism as the Chinese people may tend to buy local products with the aim of strengthening their country’s economy.
In conclusion, the findings of the study show the national satisfaction of the success of the country’s economy should not be considered an ethnocentrism. One should agree with the fact that the favoritism of one’s nation may help to increase the level of the national development and improve the living conditions of people. Ethnocentrism has limits, boundaries, as well as logical explanations. The ethnocentric people should be not only convinced about their performance in the quality of goods, products, as well as systems. They can try to make themselves more confident and improve themselves in this specific aspect instead of considering themselves a superior nation to other groups of people. Such actions will help to strengthening their economy of the country and improve its image on the international arena. In addition, the process of competing with other highly developed nations may help to satisfy the physical needs of the nation.