A Contemporary Conceptualization of Ethnocentrism - James W. Neuliep 47
47 Introduction to A Contemporary Conceptualization of Ethnocentrism By James W. Neuliep James W. Neuliep takes a closer look at Ethnocentrism. He points out that the concept of ethnocentrism has actually been studied for more than one hundred years and recently received new impetus from, for example, the Generalized Ethnocentric Scale (GENE) which was developed by Neuliep and McCroskey. Today Neuliep notes, intercultural communication scholars recognize that an actual theoretical concept in understanding of intergroup relationships is ethno- centrism. Neuliep points out that Sumner and Boaz both believed that humans are ethnocentric by nature because humans tend to see their own culture as the center of everything and relate other cultures to their own culture. This com- parison often results in a feeling of superiority for one’s own culture. In the af- termath of the Second World War, a number of influential scholars, including Adorno, argued that ethnocentrism is essentially negative and hostile in nature. Current research has found consistent, significant, and positive correlations be- tween ethnocentrism, religious fundamentalism, and homo-negativity. In contrast, Neuliep argues that ethnocentrism is to be viewed along a contin- uum and that all humans are to some extent ethnocentric. When humans are born, they are naturally egocentric but soon become ethnocentric as a result of their interaction with other humans in a process of familiarizing themselves with the world and the people around them. Culture essentially teaches people to think, conditions people how to feel, and instructs people how to act, especially how to inter-act...
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