Xenophobia is what? Meaning and definition of the word

The modern world is developing at an incredibly fast pace: the Internet, mobile communications, the ability to quickly move from one country to another without much difficulty have virtually erased the boundaries between states and peoples. Of course, identifying oneself as a representative of a certain community remains, but globalization is doing its job, turning the world into a big village in which there are no barriers to communication.

xenophobia is

Most people quite adequately perceive this process and keep pace with the times, expanding the circle of acquaintances through social networks, travel, trips to study for exchange or to work to improve the knowledge of a foreign language and even creating international families.

Xenophobia: the definition of the phenomenon

However, for some people globalization causes fear, sometimes panic, which is explained by the fear of losing their cultural and national identity.This phobia causes a person to shield themselves from representatives of other nationalities with a wall of mistrust, misunderstanding. He lives in a narrowly limited world, where he is comfortable, and his social circle narrows down to relatives, friends, and like-minded people.

In the generally accepted understanding of xenophobia - this is a negative attitude towards the representatives of other people, the fear of communicating with them.

This phenomenon is characterized as a kind of defense mechanism against a real or imagined threat to lose its national identity due to the emergence of foreigners in the environment, who act as carriers of another mentality, history and culture.

Literally, xenophobia is “fear of the stranger” (from Greek, the concept is translated as “xenos” - “alien”, and “phobos” - “fear”). The objects of this type of phobia are the Gentiles (followers of another religion), as well as whole nations and races. The phenomenon of this fear exists not only on an individual level, but also on a public one.

Xenophobia: the causes of the emergence and development

What are the reasons for the emergence and development of fear of representatives of another culture?

xenophobia definition

First of all, it is the tendency to assess the phenomena occurring in life to a greater extent through the prism of the moral values ​​and traditions of their people imparted from childhood,who act as models, standards of certain behavior and beliefs. The origins of opposition to a person from another tribe originated from ancient times, when a unanimous cautious attitude towards a representative of another tribal group was a unifying factor for the carriers of the same culture and worldview.

Peoples interaction

Over time, the relationship between different nations ceased to be so aggravated because there was an interest in the culture of the neighbors and an understanding of the possible benefits of interaction with them.

This process contributed to the complication of the levels of differentiation of "strangers", each of which had a certain emotional tinge and depended on certain conditions. For example, a successful rival group evoked envy and at the same time a desire to develop on their own, to achieve more. Positive emotions were manifested under the condition of cooperation and mutual benefit by two different nations.

xenophobia and chauvinism

I am a person

Another reason for the development of fear among representatives of other nations is the desire to protect themselves as a person from the interference of another person, their culture and traditions.

The manifestation of xenophobia very clearly characterizes a person’s understanding of the history of his country and its relations with other states. If in the past the experience of such communication was negative, it translates into the development of fear in especially sensitive people.

Extremism as a product of globalization

Xenophobia is the result of the internationalization of the modern world, which exacerbates a sense of self-identification and translates into ethno-cultural, racial, and confessional conflicts.

Quite often they lead to the emergence of extremism - to the expression of extreme views and to the application of radical measures in relation to other nations in politics and everyday life. The development of this phenomenon is strongly influenced by such negative factors as social and economic crises (which lead to a sharp decline in household incomes), changes in the already established social structures (when one group of people are dissatisfied with being in power of another group).


General and distinct features of xenophobia and extremism

Xenophobia and extremism are different concepts that should not be identified.

The first one is internal fear,which is outwardly expressed in the unwillingness to communicate with representatives of another culture, while the second phenomenon is an active expression of hostility and the use of radical measures to defend their position.

Thus, the problem of religious extremism, perhaps one of the most striking manifestations of this kind of world view and belief, is becoming increasingly common in the modern world. The issue is particularly acute in Islamic countries, where, under the influence of many factors (including the collapse of the USSR and strengthening the US position), supporters of the Muslim path of development of the peoples of these states have intensified. They oppose the European model of the formation of society and in various ways try to “Islamize” politics and subordinate all people to strict rules and principles of Sharia.

xenophobia and extremism

In addition, the goal of extremists is the formation of a unified state entity - the caliphate. But since the Muslim community is not concentrated only in Eastern countries, and its representatives live in Europe as well, this radical ideology goes beyond the borders of Islamic countries and penetrates other states, the majority of whose population adheres to a different worldview. Thus, there is a conflict of religions and cultures.

What is racism?

Recently, quite often you can hear judgments about racism. He is to some extent identified with xenophobia. Are there any differences between these concepts?

Note that racism initially assumed the conviction of some societies in the superiority of one group of people over another (more specifically, the Caucasoid race over the others). This opinion was based on the fact that some people are culturally and intellectually developed more than others.

In the modern sense, racism is also characterized by a sharp distinction between certain groups of people, but not in such a global context as in its classical interpretation. If earlier it was about biological differences: skin color, eye shape, birth in a particular country, then now not entire races act as objects of hatred, but groups of people similar in outlook and cultural characteristics: youth movements (skinheads, punks , goths, etc.), sexual minorities.

Xenophobia and racism are closely connected with each other, the only difference is that the second is distinguished by constancy, reasoning and consistency, while the first is manifested mainly spontaneously and does not lead to any radical actions against other people.

xenophobia and racism

However, in fact, the fear of interfering in the cultural life and habitual foundations of a person of a different nationality with an excellent mentality in most cases is an impetus for the expression of more radical views and the development of racism. And xenophobia - the definition of its focus and depth.

What is common between xenophobia and chauvinism?

One of the most radical manifestations of negative attitudes towards other nations was chauvinism. It is characterized as an extremely aggressive form of nationalism - hatred of people who have a different origin from the carrier of a certain ideology and culture. He expresses himself in agitation for "harassing" representatives of other faiths, in inciting ethnic hatred. Chauvinists do not disdain the moral oppression and physical extermination of people. The origins of the direction lie in the history of France, where there was a soldier by the name of Chauvin - an ardent supporter of the aggressive policy of Napoleon Bonaparte.

Chauvinism is more characteristic of small nations or ethnic groups that retain their identity and become more united, confessing a similar doctrine and separating themselves from other nations.However, the accusations of inciting ethnic hatred, oddly enough, are attributed to large nations, while to them it is characteristic of the least degree.

Just like extremism and racism, chauvinism is a consequence of the fact that xenophobia is extremely acute in a person. This fear of interfering in one's established world pushes people to take aggressive actions against representatives of another people, to hostile attitude towards them. But, as already noted, chauvinism is the highest degree of mistrust and hostility, which leads to clashes and the development of sharply negative relations between nationalities.

Thus, xenophobia and chauvinism are links in one chain: the first leads to the second, if it is time to stop the development of such manifestations of hostility.

Stability in society or ...

From the above, it becomes clear that xenophobia and tolerance are two absolute different poles.

xenophobia and tolerance

These concepts can be compared with the scales, which gives a clear understanding of what stage of development society is at. The ability to seek compromises and make concessions, patience and the desire not only to listen, but also to hear other people characterize society as tolerant, loyal.And vice versa: the not always reasoned self-righteousness, negative attitude towards people with a different point of view and disrespect for the traditions of another people are signs of instability in society, which can lead to the most dire consequences.

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