Xenophobia is an irrational or systematic hostility against one or more persons, motivated mainly by their nationality, culture, religion, ideology, or geographical origin, it can also be defined as a "hostility to what foreign ".
Xenophobia can be manifested by an attitude ranging from a simple bias to violent actions. It is generally accepted that for a country, municipality or organization to reserve certain rights or benefits to its members or its members shall not be regarded as xenophobia, but as a simple consequence of ownership or the territorial jurisdiction. It goes a little differently for the specific rights attached to citizenship, although the Declaration of Human Rights and the Citizen devotes this distinction in the title, and that within the European Union, principle of Community preference to be admitted in the economic and commercial. However, according to several authors, such Delacampagne Christian, this "bias" runs directly counter to fundamental principles that inspired the French Revolution all the inhabitants of a country they have citizenship or not, must be treated the same way and enjoy exactly the same rights and privileges as citizens of the country. For him, the concepts of nationality and citizenship should be abolished to form a single country worldwide.
Has two Greek roots, derived from Greek (xenos, "stranger" and phobos, "rejection, fear), the word xenophobia is a neologism appeared in French in the early 20th century.
Origin and meanings of the word
It is a feminine noun derived from the neologism "xenophobic" whose invention is attributed to Anatole France, in 1901. In connection with the Dreyfus affair, the writer denounces demagogues by associating them with "misoxènes, xenophobic, and xénoctones xénophages (...)». The word "xenophobic" appears for the first time in a dictionary, the New Larousse Illustre, 1906. Twenty years later, in his famous pamphlet "The Treason of the Intellectuals" (1927), Julien Benda spoke of xenophobia as an aspect of patriotism: "Another character trait that makes the patriotism in the modern clerk: xenophobia. The hatred of man for someone from the outside "(...), its proscription, his contempt for what is not" home ".
The word "xenophobia" is used by the French Academy for the eighth edition of his Dictionary (1935) with the following definition: "A state of mind, feeling that he is xenophobic". This definition by reference to the emotions or behavior, whether individual or collective, is the most common meaning and is found in most dictionaries in 2009: TLF / "expressed hostility towards foreigners, which foreign. Toupic / "Literally, xenophobia is the irrational fear, morbid things foreign. In the ordinary sense, the term "xenophobia" is rather used to characterize an feelings towards other human beings."
The great dictionary of the terminology of the Office Quebecois French language has two entries for the term "xenophobia": one in sociology ("adverse Prejudice against foreigners. Note: Xenophobia is based on stereotypes, generalizations baseless, born of rumors, misunderstandings, different customs. ") and one in Psychology (" Hostility vis-à-vis foreigners, social origin, not pathological. ")Both definitions emphasize the social rather than psychological such beliefs or emotions. This reflects an evolution of the signified that oscillates between the nomination of a line of irrational mind and that of a social phenomenon or rather a common sense between psychological and sociological conceptualization infancy.
In all cases, the concept of xenophobia reminiscent of alien and multiple stigmata of otherness: geographic, racial, national, gendered, linguistic, cultural, religious, social, etc.. Xenophobia can then take various forms borrowed from racism, sexism, elitism.
Racism and xenophobia
A particular challenge lies in the semantics and uses the comparison of concepts of racism and xenophobia. At the end of the twentieth century, the two terms tend to be used in a manner indistinguishable in everyday language and in the mass media, as if the word's oldest and most widely used of "racism" suffered a sense of euphemism as and disappear as the ideas on the biological basis of race. There is talk of "cultural racism" or "anti-racism youth" as a metaphor referring to a symbolic differentiation comparable to those that existed in the biological beliefs about race and sometimes persist with them.
Racism, however, appears as a set of separate semantic and ideological xenophobia: rooted in beliefs about the relationship between mind, psyche and physiological differences, primarily those related to sex and skin color European political culture, racism was in the past, the subject of scholarly theorizing, often related to skin color, usually placing the whites over blacks. These theories have led, even beyond their original culture, symbolic hierarchies correlated with degrees of whiteness or blackness of skin, what is called the "Colorist".
From racism, Albert Memmi gives the following definition: "Racism is the development, widespread and ultimately, biological differences, real or imaginary, in favor of the plaintiff and against his victim in order to justify aggression. This research underlines the political dimension of the violent and racist idea, leading to collective action and / or military at the expense of races deemed inferior or dangerous. By contrast, the notion of xenophobia evokes less systematic organization of the symbolic and physical violence, as if it was less clear and more diffuse, at least as long as it does not turn into a radical form of conflict would become something else , racism, homophobia, sexism, religious persecution, etc..
This apparent moderation of xenophobia in relation to racism, however, must be put into perspective by taking into account the historical context: attitudes in the late 20th century were marked by the memory of the Holocaust and its racist underpinnings. In many societies, including Western, racism is so disqualified as a scientific theory than political speech. The laws define and punish which are not sufficient to eradicate all belief about it but forced to forms of euphemism. As a result, the xenophobia is sometimes substituted with racism of yesteryear, only introducing more caution in the designation of the stigma of otherness reviled.
It is possible to give the following definition of xenophobia "all the words and deeds to appoint an unjustified abroad as a problem, a risk or a threat to the host society and to keep the away from this company, that the alien is off and may come, or ever in this company or long installed ".
This definition opens a perspective for research and reflection including implied representations or technology from abroad as a problem, risk or threat, and the expressions dispassionate adapted to social and legal suffered xenophobic discourse in societies that condemn. This perspective also avoids reducing xenophobia prior to its popular manifestations, including racist (profanity, slurs, stereotypes ...) or that of ordinary discrimination (in hiring, in business, in everyday action the police ...) and thus at prejudging, unconsciously, the popular character of this phenomenon. It also avoids, on the political level, to reduce the phenomenon solely xenophobic discourse and electoral success of small groups and extreme right parties, the question arises when the reasons for their resurgence in the center of the political system, particularly in Europe, the late 20th century.
One can distinguish conceptually different forms of xenophobia as their social origins: popular xenophobia xenophobia and elitist by differentiation in sociology élitste between a ruling minority and a mass governed; and xenophobia xenophobia protest of government, if we reported the phenomenon to the xenophobic usual distinction between "parties of government" and other parties, or simply between rulers and ruled. These distinctions are then used to wonder about the dynamic social and historical relations between the elite and governing forms of xenophobia and its popular forms or Adversaries: which are the source of periodic lifts of xenophobia in the political history of human societies? What explains that in certain configurations socio-historical, xenophobia (again) become a central feature of political life?
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