When the word ethnocentrism (preferring your own culture) was coined, numerous societies all around the world had already developed an inclination to foreign cultures. A majority of the world population was not ethnocentric any more, they were highly influenced by cultures outside the realm of their society. It was John D. Fullmer who termed this preference to the ideas, lifestyle and products of foreign culture over one's native culture, as xenocentrism.
Causes of Xenocentrism
Every society comprises a few xenocentric people. These people are victims of inferiority complex, and this complex leads them to frustration, and which ultimately materializes into aberrant behavior. Here are the factors which contribute to xenocentrism:
Foreign Influence on Education
In many countries (especially underdeveloped), the contemporary education system is biased towards the foreign perspectives. The system directly or indirectly praises the foreign culture, by highlighting the best features of foreign cultures, and in most cases, intentionally ignoring any demerits that the respective foreign cultures possess. Thus, the children are bound to deplore their culture, and they try to espouse foreign culture.
The Conservative Laws
Many countries have laws which do not accommodate the sentiments of a certain section of the society. The laws are so rigid that they can never gratify the liberal demands of the people. The lawmakers justify their rigidity by claiming that, the existing laws are in accordance with their native culture, and any amendments would hurt the sentiments of the larger section of the society. Then the section of the society, whose demands were not met, experience xenocentrism.
Low Quality Products
This is perhaps the most common cause for xenocentrism among people. When an individual feels that the local market is offering low-quality products when compared to other markets, he tends to become xenocentric. Your desire for a dress from Paris, or your craze for German or Italian cars, is an indication of xenocentrism.
Poor Economic Situation
When a particular country experiences a bad economic situation, the citizens of the respective country are bound to compare the economic policies of their country with the policies of stable economies. While the comparison may lead to the improvement of the country's economic policies, it can also exacerbate the xenocentrism in the people of the country.
Exposure to Other Cultures
When an individual is in constant contact with other cultures, it is almost impossible for him to avoid comparison between his culture and the foreign cultures. He might get overwhelmed by the foreign culture, and disparaging thoughts about his own culture might arise in his mind, which will obviously lead to xenocentrism.
It is clearly evident from the causes mentioned above, that comparison gives birth to xenocentrism. I believe that comparison is the only way in which an individual (or society) can improve, but xenocentrism does not aim at improvement. A xenocentric individual is totally inclined to the foreign culture. As over ethnocentrism is not beneficial for an individual (or society), an excess of xenocentrism also has its own repercussions.
Here are few of the consequences of xenocentrism:
- Lack of respect for your own culture
- High probability of migration to other countries
- Ebb of the local markets
Underdeveloped countries exhibit xenocentrism to a greater extent. In addition to the causes mentioned above, the lack of the facilities provided to the people in underdeveloped countries, along with the slow rate of growth, aggravates the xenocentrism! Personally, I feel that xenocentrism can be avoided if we minimize the time spent on criticizing our culture, and give more time towards its improvement!