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Some fundamentals on ethnocentrism
While examining the ethnocentric limitations of the humanistic theory, it is necessary to consider the theoretical concept of ethnocentrism in detail. First of all it must be noted that the core principle of ethnocentrism involves the idea of superiority of a certain nation, group, culture, etc. At first sight it seems that ethnocentrism contradicts all the variables the humanistic theory is based on.
Thus, keeping in mind that the idea of the intrinsic superiority of the nation is hardly consistent with such issues as democracy and freedom (Dong et al., n.d., p. 35), one can conclude that ethnocentrism cannot be regarded within the humanistic perspectives. Moreover, it should be pointed out that ethnocentrism is mostly related to collective beliefs, behaviors, expectations, etc.; while the humanistic theory reveals the importance of individual experiences.
The concept of Self-Regard and its importance
Carl Rogers is of the opinion that Self-Regard is one of the key elements the theory is based on. In other words, the way a person accepts himself or herself determines the way a person behaves. The same can be said about ethnocentrism. For instance, everyone will agree that the concept of Self-Regard can be also applied to collective reasoning, as every nation has its own mentality; therefore, every nation does not reject its uniqueness. One can speak about a certain nation’s Self-Regard, when pointing out some peculiar features on a nation’s culture, traditions, values, etc. So, Self-Regard can be regarded as a generalized concept both systems of the current discussion include.
The ethnocentric limitations of the humanistic theory
Still, despite the fact that ethnocentrism and the humanistic theory seem to be totally incompatible issues, there is a certain interdependence between the two. Thus, there is a strong need to clarify that the common ideas ethnocentrism and the humanistic theory involve are recognized to be self-actualization and self-development. As far as these aspects can exist at both – individual and collective levels, it becomes obvious that ethnocentrism heightens the basic points of the humanistic theory.
When analyzing the ethnocentric limitations of the theory, one can probably notice that the humanistic approach promotes such issues as diversity and equality. For this reason, one can conclude that multiculturalism is regarded as the threat to a wide range of the ethnocentric conceptions. Of course, cultural diversity is mostly regarded from the positive perspectives; however, negative attitudes towards the phenomenon cannot be neglected, as negative views on diversity give rise to negative prejudices, which, in turn, lead to serious contradictions among intergroup interactions.
Intercultural communication is an important variable of the current analysis, as it determines “many cognitive, affective and behavioral aspects of our interactions with others” (Chen & Starosta, 2000). Denial, defense and minimization are considered to be some of the major ethnocentric limitations of the humanistic theory. They prevent ethno-relative relations development and promote rejection of integration.
Globalization seems to weaken the ethnocentric limitations of the humanistic theory, as it promotes cultural diversity along with ethnic diversification. Some of the researchers state that in order to overcome the limitations, it is necessary to promote multicultural interactions and intercultural communication sensitivity.
People’s attitude to the concept of ethnocentrism depends upon a wide range of variables, which most important include “age, social economic status, and other demographics” (Dong et al., n.d., p. 35).
Chen, G. M., & Starosta, W. J. (2000). Intercultural Sensitivity. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Dong, Q., Day, K. & Collaço, C. (n.d.). Overcoming Ethnocentrism through Developing Intercultural Communication Sensitivity and Multiculturalism. A Publication of the Pacific and Asian Communication Association, 11(1), 27-38. Web.