Cultural anthropology What's wrong with ethnocentrism

The negative effects of ethnocentrism and how to avoid them

Spendlingwimmer, Jiri (2008) The negative effects of ethnocentrism and how to avoid them.
Diploma thesis, University of Vienna. Faculty of historical and cultural studies
Supervisor: Bockhorn, Olaf

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Abstract in German

Summarized in one section, the diploma thesis shows that the Problem of European ethnocentrism or Eurocentrism exists in many areas (history, science, international development, (pre-) judgments of the volunteers, etc.). The diploma thesis also shows that there is not only shadow but also light, that and how a positive integration into the foreign culture is possible. Summary of the individual chapters: Part I: Presentation of the basic data on the socio-economic and cultural context based on source studies at the Universities of Seville and the UCR (Costa Rica) from Costa Rica. In addition, the essential characteristics of the non-governmental organizations and their projects and activities are described. Part II: Explanation of the definition and origin of ethnocentrism based on source studies at the Universities of Seville and the UCR (Costa Rica), supplemented by various examples: the British and French colonization of the "Orient", the "Conquista" and colonization of Costa Rica by Spain, ethnocentrism in anthropology, ethnocentrism of anthropologists, ethnocentrism in development cooperation, various fundamentalisms as symptoms of ethnocentrism. Part III: My field work, which mainly consists of participatory observation and contributions from selected interview partners, includes the following subject areas: - General information about the volunteers and the volunteering in the NGOs in the south of Costa Rica - Identification of the volunteers' ethnocentric behavior - Determination of characteristics related to cultural differences and criticism of the culture the other. - Identifying characteristics that promote positive integration into or adaptation to the local culture. - About the activities for further training and for the promotion of intercultural competence that the NGOs organize for the volunteers. The present study is intended to help the NGOs on the one hand to recognize and solve the problems that arise from ethnocentrism, and on the other hand to serve as a study text, for example in the context of preparatory seminars. In my opinion, research on the subject of "European ethnocentrism" or Eurocentrism at European universities is noticeable due to its extensive lack (at least at the Institute for Ethnology - today: for cultural and social anthropology - at the University of Vienna and at the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Seville). The present study is a contribution to fill this gap. I have hope that others will use them and will use them in their research.

Keywords in German

Ethnocentrism / Ethnicity / Cultural Anthropology

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