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poisonedantidote's avatar

Is there a name for this stereotyping phenomenon?

Asked by poisonedantidote (21648points) September 29th, 2010

Each country seems to have regions that are stereotyped as having certain traits. usually: being stupid, being tight fisted, marrying their cousins, having sex with animals, being sluty, and a few others.

I ask because I notice that in Spain, they say Catalan people are tight fisted and not generous, in the UK they say Scottish people are tight fisted and not generous. I also see the same thing with other countries.

Does this phenomenon of countries appointing certain areas certain “traits” have a name?

Bonus question, Do statistics ever match up with the so called trait?

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8 Answers

wenn's avatar

Ethnocentrism: judging other cultures by the standards of your own, which you believe to be superior.

Ethnocentrism may not be exactly the correct term for what you are describing, but I would think it is related.

Bagardbilla's avatar

Ahhh… All you westerners, always trying to put labels and numbers to things!
snikkering ;)

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

The closest name I’ve found is Regional Stereotyping. Another term used is Regional Profiling, when a person makes the assumption that another is from a particular region because of their appearance, speech or actions.

This article comes from Boston College in the US, where they conducted a survey with students. While the majority are from the New England area, they could name stereotypes that are applied to the different states in the NE area.

JLeslie's avatar

I think @pied_pfeffer came up with a good answer. I would add that people seem to need to compartmentalize people, group them, to make it easier for our brains to hold onto information.

@wenn I don’t think ethnocentric fits. We can stereotype and not be saying we are superior. I stereotype people to some extent and it is not always negative.

JLeslie's avatar

Oh, and as for the last question, yes, statistics do match up many times. Or, it may have been statistically true in the past when the stereotyoe developed. The thing to keep in mind is that not everyone in the group fits the stereotype, so you should never prejudge an individual, and as i mentioned it could be a holdover from the past and be statistically untrue now.

wenn's avatar

@JLeslie ummmmm I disagree because in the question he notes a number of stereotypes that are quite negative:

“being stupid, being tight fisted, marrying their cousins, having sex with animals, being sluty, and a few others, tight fisted and not generous”

Those all seem pretty negative to me. And as I said above, ethnocentrism may not be exactly the right term, it is definitely related.

JLeslie's avatar

@wenn true the stereotypes listed are negative, but not all stereotypes are, and they can be interpreted different ways. I guess we need the OP to let us know if he is only talking aboutbnegative generalizations, then I am inclined to agree with you, ethnocentric could be valid. But, think about this…Jews are stereotyped to be tight with money. Many say this as a negative. Most Jews I know feel they are smart with money. Jews get this stereotype, because in history for religious reasons Christians didn’t go into banking, but Jews did. When peole could not afford a mortgage Jews took their property, so people saw the Jews as greedy. The Jews also leaned towards doing business with something easily portable, money, jewels, because they had to move a lot, and property was taken from them or they were forced to leave. So Jews held onto their money so to speak. There are other reasons why this stereotype developed, some of it based in reality we can say. I pride myself in saving my money, and I look for value in the things I buy. I know people who think talking about money matters is in bad taste, Jews I know feel talking property value, stocks, finances, makes things more just. If I know how much you bought your house for, or how much the painter charged you to paint your house, it is less likely he can take advantage of me on price, and vice versa. So one man’s negative take on a stereotype, might be positive to someone else.

Nullo's avatar

The Italians refer to it as campanilismo. The campanile, or bell-tower, is one of the defining characteristics of the small towns that popped up across the peninsula over the last thousand years or so. In many respects, it is the symbol of the town.
The term itself is used to describe the tendency of townspeople to favor their own over outsiders, and come up with unkind things about their neighbors.
It still goes on today. The people of Lucca and those of Pisa tend to dislike each other and think poorly of one another, and they’re about 20 minutes apart by train.

I think that @Pied_Pfeffer‘s regional stereotyping is probably good enough.

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