Why Should You Diversify Your Media Consumption?

As this week marked the World Day of Social Justice, we want to shine a light on the issues surrounding ethnocentric and Eurocentric curricula in Western and Westernized higher education.

What are Ethnocentrism and Eurocentrism?


Derived from the word ethnicity, which refers to the identification of a group in which the belonging individuals share common cultural, historic, linguistic, and religious/spiritual traits. Ethnocentrism, in practice, refers to the creation of a more distorted understanding of the world, in which one evaluates other cultures from the perspective of one’s own.

The Origins of Ethnocentrism

Coined by William Sumner in 1906, Ethnocentrism is described as “a view by which one’s own group is the "center of everything", and other groups are scaled and rated in reference to it”. This leads to both a conscious and unconscious cultural or ethnic bias, in which an individual views the world from the perspective of their own group, setting the in-group as the archetype and rating the out-groups as the “other” with reference to their own group. 

At an individual level, this includes the internal bias, prejudice, and negative stereotyping of the out-group, as well as the possible refusal to interact with the out-group members and other personal acts of discrimination. On a society (and governmental) level, the out-group rejection can lead to institutionalized systems of discrimination and open warfare directed at harming the out-group.


Eurocentrism is a term used to describe a system of knowledge, and not a geographical concept, which reflects on the ways in which (Western) European societies are perceived as modern, rational, and developed, as opposed to “the rest” of the world, which is depicted traditional, underdeveloped and spiritual, for example. This concept, which is now heavily reflected in the field of International Relations (IR), does not apply only to European societies, but Western ideologies in general, with an overwhelmingly dominant presence of Northern American doctrine as the leading one.

Eurocentrism in Higher Education

There are spaces in Academia that consciously describe, understand, and analyze only Western reality. In other cases, the perpetuation of strictly Western or Westernized ethnocentric academic knowledge happens unconsciously due to a strong running tradition in such education. This brings us to a narrowed understanding of our multifaceted and diverse societies, starting in our own classrooms!

Beyond the field of International Relations (IR), Eurocentric dynamics are present in all fields of Western (and Westernized) academia. Why? As mentioned before, the notion refers to a system of knowledge and carries post-colonial sentiments of superiority throughout all domains of life. 

By using a Eurocentric curriculum and perpetuating Eurocentric classroom dynamics, the construction of students’ reality in higher education inevitably becomes one-dimensionally Eurocentric. While Ethnocentrism is a concept that applies to all societies (i.e. Bulgarian Slavs perpetuating ethnocentrism towards Romani communities in Bulgaria), Eurocentrism is distinctively relevant in Western (and Westernized) Academia, which portrays Western ethnicities as the central pool of knowledge, and their traditions as essentially “natural”, therefore superior.

Why Should We Diversify our Academic Curriculum?

If we truly aim to facilitate inclusive classrooms, we need to ensure that the education we receive is effectively representative of the diverse world we live in under all cultural aspects. It is of paramount importance that teachers and students are equipped with various tools to help them understand and integrate diversity in their curricula. The result, then, would be the creation of a collective and multidimensional perception of reality.

What Can You Do?

On a personal level, you can start by diversifying your reading list and the media you consume. It is of paramount importance that teachers, students, and individuals are equipped with various tools that help us understand all realities of life. To facilitate this, we have compiled a non-exhaustive list of authors and content creators that you can follow. See these here.

But what does “diversify'' mean? It means to switch your focus from mainstream media and readings and address your research energies to stories of and curated/created by members of underrepresented and marginalized communities. In doing so, you will not merely limit your readings and curriculum to a one-dimension point of view, but broaden your knowledge and cultural baggage by obtaining an all-around education. 


Sumner, W. G. (1906). Folkways. Ginn, New York, NY.


Oxford Bibliographies


Thomas Fraser Pettigrew 


E-International Relations

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