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What Is and Is Not Ethnocentrism? A Conceptual Analysis and Political Implications

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Conceptual analysis has not been systematically implemented in psychology, and many concepts have often been defined in different and contradictory ways. This article focuses on a conceptual clarification of ethnocentrism. It points out the conceptual confusion surrounding the term, reviews numerous definitions and operationalizations, and attempts to clarify it. Ethnocentrism is reconceptualized as a strong sense of ethnic group self‐centeredness, which involves intergroup expressions of ethnic group preference, superiority, purity, and exploitativeness, and intragroup expressions of ethnic group cohesion and devotion. It is conceptually and empirically distinguished from other concepts, such as outgroup negativity and mere ingroup positivity. The article presents a theoretical framework and related empirical analyses supporting the usefulness of reconceptualized ethnocentrism. It also details important and unique implications of reconceptualized ethnocentrism for political phenomena. It is expected that reliance on the clarified reconceptualization should enable researchers to systematically study ethnocentrism, its origins, and consequences.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: The Australian National University 2: University of Auckland

Publication date: December 1, 2012

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