Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: May 28, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963930 | Print ISBN: 9781412941655 | Online ISBN: 9781412963930| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
The term xenophobia derives from the Greek words xenos (“foreign”) and phobos (“fear”), literally meaning a fear of foreigners. This origin is reflected in dictionary definitions, which almost inevitably describe it as a fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners. Despite a clear parallel between xenophobia and prejudice, the former refers solely to an emotional reaction to the other, while the latter is typically defined in ways that suggest both cognitive and emotional components. To the extent that this is the case, xenophobia has a more restrictive usage than prejudice. On the other hand, xenophobia and ethnocentrism are essentially two sides of the same coin, the latter referring to an excessive love of one's own “people”—be they defined in ethnic, racial, religious, national, or civilizational terms. Given the word's origin, in the premodern world certain visceral reactions to the “other” appeared to be, if not typical or universal, at least ...