Meaning Of Xenophobia

Xenophobia is the fear or hatred of that which is perceived to be foreign or strange.

Xenophobia can involve perceptions of an ingroup toward an outgroup and can manifest itself in suspicion of the activities of others or individuals, and a desire to eliminate their presence to secure a presumed purity and may relate to a fear of losing national, ethnic or racial identity.

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Xenophobia can also be exhibited in the form of an “uncritical exaltation of another culture” in which a culture is ascribed “an unreal, stereotyped and exotic quality”.

According to UNESCO, the terms xenophobia and racism often overlap, but differ in how the latter encompasses prejudice based on physical characteristics while the former is generally centered on behavior based on the notion of a specified people being adverse to the culture or nation.

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Dictionary definitions of xenophobia include: “deep-rooted fear towards foreigners” (Oxford English Dictionary; OED), and “fear of the unfamiliar” (Webster’s). The word comes from the Ancient Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning “strange“, “foreigner“, and φόβος (phobos), meaning fear“.

A scholarly definition of xenophobia, according to Andreas Wimmer, is “an element of a political struggle about who has the right to be cared for by the state and society: a fight for the collective goods of the modern state.”

In other words, xenophobia arises when people feel that their rights to benefit from the government is being subverted by other people’s rights

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