Towards Ethnorelativism – Milton J Bennett Sample

Table of Content

Organized into six “stages” of increasing sensitiveness to difference. the article identifies the underlying cognitive orientations persons use to understand cultural differences. Each place along the continuum represents progressively complex perceptual organisations of cultural difference. which in bend allow progressively sophisticated experiences of other civilizations. By placing the implicit in experience of cultural difference. anticipations about behavior and attitudes can be made and instruction can be tailored to ease development along the continuum. Summary of the article:

Ethnocentrism is. harmonizing to Bennett. “the premise that one’s ain civilization is cardinal to all reality”. To travel “away” from this. he suggests three “Ethnocentric pitfalls” to get the better of ( Denial. Defence. and Minimisation ) and so three “Ethnorelative approaches” ( Acceptance. Adaptation. and Integration ) to accomplish this: “Ethnocentric pitfalls”

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I. DenialA denial of difference is the purest signifier of ethnocentrism. Even in the face of apparently obvious differences in human behavior associated with universe personal businesss or domestic multicultural issues. a individual at this phase of development believes that cultural diverseness merely occurs elsewhere. While this signifier of ethnocentrism might look rare in an intercommunicating universe. the visual aspect of this place can be maintained through isolation or separation caused by knowing physical and societal barriers.

IsolationPhysical isolation can further the denial of the being of difference. From a place of comparatively pure isolation. cultural differences are non experienced at all ( they have no significance ) . Condition of “no classs of cultural difference” . The example given of a foreign pupil placed in an American school and expected to be “nice” by American criterions. Peoples besides maintain “wide classs for cultural difference” . like detecting the difference between Asians and Westerners. but less likely to detect differences between Nipponese. Chinese. and Vietnamese etc. Separation

Separation here is knowing physical or societal barriers from cultural difference put in topographic point as a agency of keeping a province of denial ( like Apartheid ). “More separation from foreign influence seems to eventuate in greater isolation. which breeds more separation” . Developmental Schemes

At the denial phase of sensitiveness. the best technique for development is “cultural awareness” activities ( like an International dark. Multicultural hebdomads. or similar maps ). This creates more distinction. Thingss like this. every bit good as political treatments or talks. function as a manner of simple acknowledgment of difference. The scheme here is to avoid treatment of truly important cultural differences. which could in bend be used to keep the denial. II. Defense mechanism

Refers to a “posture intended to counter the impact of specific differences perceived as threatening”. Defence conflict against difference advancements through three signifiers: Denigrations. Superiority. and reversal. Denigration

Most common scheme to counter the menace of difference is to measure it negatively ( negative stereotyping ). Easy to recognize in persons and. on occasion. full groups. As predicted by the theoretical account. defense mechanism should be expected in people who have merely come out of denial. A more retentive signifier of belittling combines negative stereotyping of different groups with a principle for their built-in lower status ( Nazis. Ku Klux Klan ) . Movement beyond belittling can be impeded both by the institutionalisation of hatred and by the inclination to withdraw to denial. Superiority

This signifier of defense mechanism emphasises the positive rating of one’s ain cultural position. non needfully the open belittling of other groups ( women’s rightists and some manifestations of patriotism might be considered illustrations ) . Cultural difference perceived as threatening is countered at this phase by implicitly pass oning it to a lower-status place. Superiority represents a developmental measure beyond belittling because difference is less negatively evaluated. even though it is still something to be overcome. Peoples who have been oppressed might pass more clip in the high quality signifier of defense mechanism. Development beyond high quality is facilitated by leting. but non overemphasizing. the benefits of cultural pride. The concluding phase of ethnocentrism. minimization. must be passed before a strong accent on cultural differences will be effective with this group. Reversal

Reversal involves a belittling of one’s ain civilization and an attendant premise of the high quality of a different civilization ( hippie “new agers” . who apparently embrace the high quality of Eastern over Western cultural values ) . May look a more interculturally enlightened place than other defense mechanism phases. Reversal signifier may look most sensitive but it is really merely altering the Centre of ethnocentrism. The development deductions of this is that if such positive properties are accompanied by belittling of one’s ain civilization. it is likely that more development through ethnocentric phases is necessary earlier work on ethnorelativism can be undertaken. Developmental Schemes

Developmental motion out of defense mechanism is facilitated by underscoring the commonalty of civilizations. peculiarly in footings of what is good in all civilizations. Failure to let the following phase. minimization. by jumping in front. may ensue in beef uping the defense mechanism phase and rejection of farther development. III. Minimization

Burying differences under the weight of cultural similarities. Represents a development beyond defense mechanism because. at this phase. cultural difference is overtly acknowledged and is non negatively evaluated. Physical Universalism

Human existences in all civilizations have physical features in common which dictate behavior which is apprehensible to any other human being. With the further premises that all civilizations are merely amplifications of cardinal biological science. cultural difference is relegated to the “relatively unimportant place of permutation” . While some averments in general may be accurate. for intercultural communication they are fiddling. They fail to turn to the culturally alone societal context of physical behavior. Transcendent Universalism

Suggests that all human existences are merchandises of some individual transcendent rule. jurisprudence. or imperative ( illustration is any faith ) . Among all ethnocentric phases. allows for greatest development of cultural difference. Peoples at this phase may happen differences interesting and deserving larning about. The major hindrance to develop beyond this phase is the belief that one can acquire by with minimization behavior in many rational state of affairs. Developmental Strategies

Following phase after this is Acceptance. For people in minimization. deficiency of consciousness of their ain civilization underlies the premise of cultural similarity. When you place your ain behavior in a cultural context. you are less inclined to believe that the behavior is cosmopolitan. Effective at this phase to utilize members from other civilizations as resource people ( supply credibleness for the construct of cultural difference that would otherwise elude trainer ) . The Ethnorelative Phases

Ethnorelativism assumes that civilizations can merely be understood comparative to one another and that peculiar behavior can merely be understood within a cultural context. Cultural difference is neither good. nor bad – it is merely different. Phases of ethnorelativism Begin with the “acceptance of cultural difference as inevitable and gratifying. through version to cultural differences with intercultural communicating accomplishments. to the concluding phase of integrating in which ethnorelativism may be synthesised into a feasible new identity”.

VI. CredenceIn this phase. cultural difference is both acknowledged and respected. Being of the difference is accepted as a necessary and preferred human status. Two phases are common in the development of this phase: Respect for Behavioural Difference and Respect for Value Differences. Respect for Behavioural Difference

First of the thoughts is to accept that verbal and gestural behavior varies across civilizations and that all signifiers of such behaviors are worthy of regard ( if non personal support ) Respect for Value Differences

At this phase of development. there is credence of the different worldview premises that underlie cultural fluctuation in behavior. Developmental Schemes

Motion to the following phase of intercultural sensitiveness. “Adaptation” . is encouraged by underscoring the practical application of credence. Example given is off a preparation plan treatment of American/ European value differences. accompanied with immediate applications to bettering dealingss with prospective homestay households. V. Adaptation

At this phase. “adaptation” . accomplishments for associating to and pass oning with people of other civilizations are enhanced. Is meant to except intensions of “assimilation” . New accomplishments appropriate to a different worldview are acquired in an linear procedure. The care of your ain worldview is encouraged. so the versions necessary for effectual communicating in other civilizations extend. instead than replace. one’s native accomplishments. Empathy

Cardinal to any intercultural communicating accomplishment is the ability to see some facet of the world otherwise than one’s ain civilization. Anything less than this displacement in experience hazards ethnocentrism.

PluralismPluralism here is used to bespeak two facets of the version phase of intercultural sensitiveness. One is a philosophical committedness to the being of a “multitude of irreducible and tantamount ultimate wholes. thoughts. values and value graduated tables. every bit good as experiences in which they are tested” . Cultures are non merely different. but that such difference must ever be understood wholly within the context of the relevant civilization. Developmental Schemes

Participants traveling out of credence are eager to use their cognition of cultural difference to existent face-to-face communication. Now is the clip to supply chances for this. Might include multicultural group treatments. or outside assignments affecting interviewing of people from other civilizations. VI Integration

The integration phase describes the effort to incorporate disparate facets of one’s individuality into a new whole while staying culturally fringy. Two signifiers of Integration are Contextual Evaluation and Constructive Marginality. Contextual Evaluation

This is a development beyond the version where one attains the ability to analyze and measure state of affairs from one of more chosen cultural positions. Example given. is it good to mention straight to a error made by person else? In most American contexts. it is good. In most Nipponese context. it is bad. However it might be good in some instances to utilize an American manner in Japan. and frailty versa. The ethical consideration is portion of integrating. Constructive Marginality

When marginality is preceded by other phases of ethnorelative development ( or when those phases are added to marginality ) . the elements of version and pick come into drama. These two accomplishments allow a fringy individual to build appropriate frames of mention for peculiar intents.

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Towards Ethnorelativism – Milton J Bennett Sample. (2017, Jul 21). Retrieved from

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