The tendency to see one’s own ideas beliefs and practices superior to that of others is called? | Sociology for CUET by Vikash Ranjan | Sociology Guru

The tendency to See One


Question: The tendency to see one’s own ideas beliefs and practices superior to that of others is called?

  1. Xenophobia 
  2. Self-orientation
  3. Ego-centrism   
  4. Ethno-centrism

Answer: (4)

Understanding Ethnocentrism:

Ethnocentrism is a cognitive bias that leads individuals to evaluate and judge other cultures, practices, and beliefs based on the standards and values of their own culture. It involves perceiving one’s own cultural norms as superior and regarding the customs, behaviors, and beliefs of other cultures as inferior or strange. Ethnocentrism can manifest in various ways, from subtle biases to overt prejudice and discrimination.

Key Aspects of Ethnocentrism:

Cultural Judgment: Ethnocentrism involves using one’s own culture or ethnicity as a frame of reference to assess and judge other cultures. It often leads to the application of one’s cultural norms and values to evaluate the behaviors and practices of others.

Perceived Superiority: Ethnocentrism often includes the belief that one’s own culture is superior to, or more correct or normal than, other cultures. This perception of cultural superiority can lead to a sense of pride and the belief in the inherent rightness of one’s own cultural practices.

Negative Connotations: Ethnocentrism is frequently associated with negative judgments about other cultures. This can result in stereotypes, biases, and a lack of understanding or appreciation for cultural diversity.

Impact on Intergroup Relations: Ethnocentrism can significantly affect intergroup relations, particularly when it leads to discrimination, bias, or conflict between individuals or groups from different cultures.

Ethnocentrism vs. Racism, Stereotyping, Discrimination, and Xenophobia:

While ethnocentrism shares similarities with racism, stereotyping, discrimination, and xenophobia, it is essential to distinguish between these terms:

Racism: Racism involves the belief in the inherent superiority of one race over others and the consequent discrimination or prejudice based on race. While ethnocentrism pertains to cultural differences, racism pertains to racial differences.

Stereotyping: Stereotyping involves forming generalized beliefs or attitudes about individuals or groups based on limited or simplified characteristics. Ethnocentrism can lead to stereotypes about other cultures, but it is a broader concept.

Discrimination: Discrimination refers to actions, policies, or behaviors that treat individuals or groups unfairly or differentially based on their characteristics. Ethnocentrism can lead to discriminatory attitudes or actions toward people from other cultures.

Xenophobia: Xenophobia is a fear or hostility toward people from other countries or cultures. While ethnocentrism involves cultural judgments and perceptions of superiority, xenophobia includes fear and hostility.

Cultural Relativism as the Opposite of Ethnocentrism:

The opposite of ethnocentrism is cultural relativism. Cultural relativism is a guiding philosophy that suggests the best way to understand a different culture is through the perspective of that culture rather than through the lens of one’s own cultural standards. Cultural relativism emphasizes the importance of suspending judgment and appreciating the diversity of cultural practices and beliefs.

Historical Background:

The term “ethnocentrism” was first introduced in the social sciences by American sociologist William G. Sumner in his 1906 book, “Folkways.” Sumner defined ethnocentrism as “the technical name for the view of things in which one’s own group is the center of everything, and all others are scaled and rated with reference to it.” He noted that ethnocentrism often leads to pride, vanity, the belief in one’s own group’s superiority, and contempt for outsiders.

Relevance and Implications:

Ethnocentrism has significant relevance and implications in various aspects of society, including:

Cultural Understanding: Recognizing and addressing ethnocentrism is crucial for fostering cultural understanding and appreciation. It can help promote tolerance and respect for diverse cultures.

Interpersonal Relations: Ethnocentrism can impact interpersonal relationships, particularly in culturally diverse environments. Reducing ethnocentrism can lead to more harmonious interactions.

Conflict Resolution: Ethnocentrism can be a source of conflict, and understanding its dynamics is essential for conflict resolution and peace-building efforts.

Globalization: In an increasingly globalized world, ethnocentrism can hinder effective cross-cultural communication and collaboration. Overcoming ethnocentrism is vital for international relations and cooperation.

Diversity and Inclusion: Ethnocentrism can hinder efforts to promote diversity and inclusion in various settings, such as workplaces and educational institutions.


Ethnocentrism is a cognitive bias that involves viewing one’s own culture as superior to others and evaluating different cultures based on one’s own cultural norms and values. It can lead to stereotypes, biases, discrimination, and conflicts between individuals or groups from diverse cultures. Recognizing and addressing ethnocentrism is essential for promoting cultural understanding, tolerance, and respect in an increasingly interconnected and diverse world. Cultural relativism, which emphasizes understanding cultures from their own perspectives, serves as a valuable counterbalance to ethnocentrism and promotes appreciation for cultural diversity.

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Question: Define the term “ethnic movement” and provide an example from India.

Answer: An ethnic movement refers to a collective effort by a group sharing common cultural, linguistic, or religious traits, seeking to assert their identity and rights; an example from India is the Khalistan Movement in Punjab.

2. Question: Identify the main objectives behind the Gorkhaland ethnic movement.

Answer: The Gorkhaland ethnic movement primarily seeks to establish a separate state for India’s Nepali-speaking population in the Darjeeling region, advocating for linguistic and cultural recognition and political autonomy.

3. Question: What was the Operation Blue Star, and which ethnic movement was it related to?
Answer: Operation Blue Star was a military action in 1984, aiming to remove Sikh militants hiding in the Golden Temple in Amritsar; it is related to the Khalistan movement, which sought a separate Sikh country.

4. Question: Mention a critical factor that triggered the emergence of ethnic movements in India, as discussed by Dipankar Gupta.
Answer: Dipankar Gupta emphasized that ethnicity is fundamentally a political process, wherein caste and religion, the key components of identity formation, are politicized by leaders for vested interests.

5. Question: What were the primary reasons for the Assam Ethnicity conflicts involving Bodo tribals and Bengali Muslim settlers?
Answer: The Assam Ethnicity conflicts primarily stemmed from issues related to immigration, land rights, and resource allocation, leading to clashes, riots, and evolving relationships among indigenous communities to address challenges.

6. Question: Briefly describe the role of the Dravidian Movement in terms of caste and societal structure.
Answer: The Dravidian Movement, led notably by E.V. Ramasamy, aimed to establish an egalitarian society, focusing on anti-Brahmanism and advocating for equal rights for backward castes, while also introducing reforms like self-respect marriages.

7. Question: Name the prominent ethnic movements in North-East India and specify one common objective.
Answer: Prominent ethnic movements in North-East India include the Nagas’ and Mizos’ struggles; a common objective was to gain autonomy and recognition for their distinct tribal identities and cultural uniqueness.

8. Question: What is the key argument of Gail Omveldt regarding traditional Indian society and multiculturalism?
Answer: Gail Omveldt opposed romanticizing traditional Indian society, arguing that hierarchy has always dominated it and dismissing the notion that multiculturalism is an intrinsic feature of Indian society as a myth.

9. Question: Briefly explain the social hierarchy factor as a contributing element to ethnic movements as suggested by Olzak.
Answer: Olzak suggests that the construction of hierarchies among ethnic communities, which often leads to the suppression of one group by another, is a key factor that can instigate social and ethnic movements.

10. Question: Identify one consequence of the unequal economic development factor within the context of ethnic movements in India.
Answer: One consequence of unequal economic development is the marginalization and underdevelopment of certain groups, leading to feelings of alienation and sometimes initiating ethnic movements as these groups strive for equality and recognition.

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