Concepts of terms and terminology are critical in science and research. The term provides accuracy, clarity, and understanding of scientific thought. Terminology forms part of the specialized vocabulary, into which not common words and phrases calling subjects and concepts of various spheres of people’s professional activity included. There are specific rules to observe when defining a concept or term. However, despite the crucial place of terms in the scientific knowledge system, there are regular definitions that do not explain the phenomena and cannot be used in practice.
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Ken Barger (2019) defines ethnocentrism as “making false assumptions about others’ ways based on our own limited experience” (para. 3). Following the rules, his term must reveal to readers the content (meaning) of ethnocentrism by describing its essential and distinctive features. If the term is not related to objects or characteristics, it remains a symbol with no semantic meaning. In the studied definition, the objects are “assumptions,” experience”, “we” and “others,” and the features are “false” and “limited.” These components are not enough for an inclusive term. The definition also does not reveal the part “ethnic,” which is essential to the interpretation of this phenomenon. Moreover, the use of a personal pronoun makes the term non-appropriate. Other definitions provided in the article are more accurate – “thinking one’s own group’s ways are superior to others” or “judging other groups as inferior to one’s own” (Barger, 2019, para. 2). However, the author himself suggests that they are typical, not presented by him.
Thus, the definition presented by Ken Barger does not reveal the essence of ethnocentrism and, without proper explanation, can mislead readers. Based on the comments made in the work, a definition of the studied phenomenon can be proposed. Ethnocentrism is a mechanism of the human worldview that determines his or her attitude towards aspects of social reality through norms, culture, and traditions of its ethnic group, considered as a universal standard.
Barger K. (2019). Ethnocentrism.