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Word Count: 658
Ethnocentrism is the feeling that ones group has a mode of living values and patterns of adaptation that are superior to those groups It is coupled with a generalized contempt for members of other groups Ethnocentrism may manifest itself in attitudes of superiority or sometimes hostility Violence discrimination proselytizing and verbal aggressiveness are other means whereby ethnocentrism may be expressed Ethnocentrism is the belief that ones own way of life or culture is both superior to that of others and the most normal way of living for all human beings An ethnocentrism attitude is also based on the assumption that a persons own culture can be used as a basis for measuring and evaluating behavior in other cultures Thus the American practice of monogamy marriage of one man to one woman is assumed by many Americans to be the best and most normal form of marriage Other forms of marriage may be evaluated as inferior abnormal savage weird strange or immoral When Eugene Cohen described the dating practices of American girls to older women in the Italian village he studied all of these women were shocked and commented that American girls are like prostitutes If ethnocentrism is pervasive no fieldwork can be pursued effectively because the field workers belief in the superiority of his or her own culture would prejudice the perception of other peoples and their cultures Ethnocentrism is not a Western monopoly it is characteristic of much of humanity Every group appears to assume its superiority over others People in every society tend to view outsiders and their customs with suspicion and often condemnation If we consider infanticide who use infanticide a cruel and unnatural practice those peoples who use infanticide might consider our own custom of shutting old people away in homes for the aged an equally appalling practice The anthropologist however cannot afford ethnocentrism for it blocks understanding
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