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Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]

Xenophobia

Norman Weiß

Subject(s):
Ethnicity — Equality before the law

Published under the auspices of the Max Planck Foundation for International Peace and the Rule of Law under the direction of Rüdiger Wolfrum.

1 Phobia is derived from the Greek phobos , meaning fear. Originally, it is a psycho-medical term that is used to describe unreasonable anxieties. Xenophobia (from the Greek xenos , ie foreigner) thus means an unreasonable fear of foreigners. It is to be distinguished from an ordinary distrust of strangers. Xenophobia is an attitude against persons who are defined as different to oneself (‘others’), using real or mythical criteria. Therefore, xenophobia is not a medical phenomenon, but describes a mental reservation or political conviction against certain human...
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