Understanding Xenocentrism with Examples


What is Xenocentrism?

Xenocentrism (the opposite of ethnocentrism) is a sociological concept that means love, liking, or preference for another culture. In other words, considering other culture(s) better and superior to one’s own culture is xenocentrism.

With the rise of globalization, different cultures came in close contact with each other. People across the world got exposure to other cultures. It either resulted in ethnocentrism or xenocentrism.

With the xenocentric impact of globalization, people began to love the foreign culture to an extent that they adopted the lifestyle and practices of that culture. Media and the internet are the primary drivers behind it. With the widespread diffusion of the internet, one is easily getting exposure to other cultures and people; learning their lifestyle, preferences, dress code, values, norms, and everything associated with the culture.

The impacts of xenocentrism are devastating. For example, many cultures wither away completely in the sense that strong cultures subsume the weak ones. Consequently, they cease to exist.

Examples and Impacts of Xenocentrism

There are multiple examples of xenocentrism. In Pakistan, we can see a huge impact of western culture on Pakistani culture. Pakistani society is importing the elements of western culture from dramas, movies, social media, etc. They are adopting this culture at the expense of their own culture. The girlfriend boyfriend culture, Valentine’s day, late-night parties, rap music, English language, etc are all being favored and considered superior to own local culture. Hence, the traditional norms, values, ethics, arts, architecture are fizzling out under the influence of the foreign culture.

Similarly, under the influence of xenocentrism, language extinction is not uncommon. For example, born out of colonialism and due to inherent colonial mentality, Pakistani society tends to see English as a superior language to Urdu. Thereby, people try to learn and teach English to the next generation. A common observation is English has become the first language of the elite class while Urdu is considerably getting limited to the middle class.

Moreover, to some extent, xenocentrism results in the migration of people to their preferred culture. For instance, people from Asia mostly prefer to live in western countries owing to their cultural superiority. Similarly, those who are already there for studies or jobs do not prefer to come back.

To cap it all, xenocentrism evolved with globalization and people to people contact. It impacted different cultures in different ways. Some cultures are growing and evolving while others are dying due to it.

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