Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Marina A. Adler
Originating in the Greek language, the term xenophobia refers to the “unreasonable fear” (phobia) of “strangers” (xeno) or “foreigners.” Xenophobia has been defined as a general fear of difference, an intense discomfort with people from other cultures, or hostility and intolerance toward people who look, speak, dress, and act differently from those in one's own culture. This entry describes the causes of xenophobia and examines the link between immigration and xenophobia. In modern multicultural societies, xenophobia mainly entails the rejection of the different lifestyles or cultural or religious value systems of immigrant groups, the fear of society becoming “flooded” by immigrants, and the perceived threat to prosperity by heightened economic competition. Akin to eth-nocentrism, racial prejudice, and anti-Semitic feelings, antiforeigner sentiments are grounded in an intense dislike for “otherness” or “outsiders,” as well as ideas of the cultural superiority of the in-group. They also involve unexamined prejudices and scapegoating, such ...