Xenocentrism  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Xenocentrism (adj: xenocentric) is a political neologism, coined as the antonym of Ethnocentrism. Xenocentrism is the preference for the products, styles, or ideas of someone else's culture rather than of one's own.

Origins of the term

Xenocentrism has recently been used in social philosophy to describe a particular ethical disposition. Ethnocentrism, as coined by Professor William Graham Sumner of Yale University, describes the natural tendencies of an individual to place disproportionate worth upon the values and beliefs of one's own culture relative to others. Expanding upon this idea, John D. Fullmer of Brigham Young University offered that Xenocentrism results from an attempt on the part on an individual to correct his or her own ethnocentrism. He argued that as an individual reacts to his own perceived ethnocentrism, he or she will often overcompensate and instead begin to place undue consideration upon the ideas and needs of social groups that are far removed.

Thereby, a wealthy philanthropist may hear of an obscure disease in a distant country and invest in its research, although the matter is not entirely pressing within the community that he resides. The tendency for xenocentrism is also used to explain the reason that, in the political systems of many liberalist democracies, emphasis is often placed upon legislation to protect groups that are of a minuscule minority and with whom most voters have no immediate experience.

While Xenocentrism is defined by Fullmer to be a principal cause of ethical bias, emphasis is placed upon its position as an important step from inborn ethnocentrism to a state, labeled by Fullmer as "Omnicentrism." This ultimately ideal state is characterized by the complete lack of any familiarity bias, whether for or against one's own culture. Fullmer offers that the step from Ethnocentrism to Xenocentrism is one made by an ethically advancing individual, but that many fail to progress beyond this state, instead remaining biased by the unhealthy excesses of Xenocentrism.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Xenocentrism" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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