Full Text


Paul R. Jones

Subject Cultural Studies
Sociology » Sociology of Culture and Media

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


Derived from the Greek words xeno , meaning “foreigner,” “stranger,” or “guest,” and phobia , meaning fear, xenophobia literally refers to a phobic attitude toward foreigners. However, “phobia” in this context is not meant in the clinical sense but rather refers to a part of the network of racist ideologies predicated on discriminatory discourse and practice. Xenophobia is thus a term that describes fear or prejudice with respect to something or someone perceived as “foreign” or “other.” As such, xenophobia is an exclusionary logic whose focus is primarily cultural, being directed toward those artifacts or cultural expressions considered somehow “different.” As with all discriminatory ideologies, xenophobia constructs a hierarchical order of people and cultures. As xenophobia both maintains and constructs such social and cultural boundaries, it can entail a deliberate or unconscious misrecognition of other cultures. Indeed, the designation of certain attributes to other cultures expresses power in itself, as meanings can be imposed on one group by a more dominant group. Given this broad definition, xenophobia could be generalized to a wide range of social situations, but primarily it operates as an ideological basis for nationalism (when such discourses devalue and stigmatize the cultures of other nations) and for related anti-immigrant discourses. Accordingly, xenophobia underpins ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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