ethnocentrism. The use of this term has become quite complex. In general terms, however, it can be said to refer to the ways in which the language, beliefs or customs of a particular ethnic group are reinforced, defended or promoted, whether in intellectual work, a political or military campaign, or a cultural or educational programme. Robert Brown defines ethnocentricism as 'the application of the norms of own's own culture to that of others' (1965: 183); Agnes Heller writes of how 'what is called "'ethnocentricism" is the natural attitude of all cultures towards alien ones' (1984: 271). In such descriptions, ethnocentricism becomes a term for how the self or subject imposes itself upon or constitutes the other as alien to itself, in a relation of active antagonism. Extreme cases of this have been seen in the ethnic conflict marking recent history in Northern Ireland, the Middle East, in Bosnia and Rwanda. More generally, ethnocentricism is used to refer to the assumed privilege of European ethnic groups and particularly white Europeans. As such, it can be employed as virtually synonymous with eurocentrism. Gayatri Spivak writes in this way (commenting on Jacques Derrida's treatment of this same topic) of 'the European intellectual's ethnocentric impulse' and problematic role in the West's constitution of its Other (1988: 292). In this connection, in academic work, the term has been used especially to critique the assumption in more traditional forms of anthropology and ethnology that the ethnographer can stand outside and apart from an observed culture. It therefore implies a complacent cultural superiority or an implicit racism. Ethnocentricism therefore reinforces or directly asserts a particular cultural identity. The ethnic identity in question might have a regional, sub-cultural or nationalist aspect, and this can be of the otherwise 'observed' culture as well as, or as a counter to, that of the anthropologist observer, outside critic, journalist, or tourist. Obviously, this difference can be of considerable significance. However, whether the ethnocentrism in question is that of a dominant or a marginalized culture, the term implies a selective or exclusive, 'centred' perspective and project. It should also be pointed out that for Jacques Derrida ethnocentricism is inevitable and inescapable. Ethnology, he writes is: "primarily a European science employing traditional concepts, however much it may struggle against them. Consequently whether he wants to or not - and this does not depend on a decision on his part - the ethnologist accepts into his discourse the premises of ethnocentricism at the very moment when he denounces them. The necessity is irreducible; it is not a historical contingency. (1978: 282) Ethnocentricism, Derrida implies, cannot therefore be simply thrown off but requires a vigilant 'critical rigour' and self-consciousness. See also DECONSTRUCTION;POSTCOLONIALISM. [from: Brooker, 1999]