Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Culture Quote of the Day - "centrality of culture"

“Many of the difficulties with intercultural communication can be traced to the obstacles created by ethnocentrism, which means, literally, ‘centrality of culture.’  When one’s own culture is considered central to all reality, the values, assumptions, and behavior norms of that culture may be elevated to the position of absolute truth.  There are several implications of this definition.  First, ethnocentric beliefs about one’s own culture shape a social sense of identity which is narrow and defensive.  Second, ethnocentrism normally involves the perception of members of other cultures in terms of stereotypes.  Third, the dynamic of ethnocentrism is such that comparative judgments are made between one’s own culture and other cultures under the assumption that one’s own is normal and natural.  As a consequence, ethnocentric judgments usually involve invidious comparisons that ennoble one’s own culture while degrading those of others.  With these costs, ethnocentrism establishes identity and belonging in the context of culture.”
Edward Stewart and Milton Bennett, American Cultural Patterns

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