The Real People: Ethnohuman Speciation at the Intersection of Modern Western Multiculturalism, Human Rights, and ‘Islamic’ Terrorism

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Local ethnic labels for indigenous societies across the world can be translated as ‘the people’, or ‘true’ or ‘correct’ people, with the assumption that while outsiders may look human, such outsiders remain less than real people. This relatively extreme form of ethnocentrism can be illustrated in reference to the Mardu Australian aborigines, the Kulina and Wari of Amazonia, or potentially the Min of Papua New Guinea, revealing much about how diverse societies negotiate concepts of foreignness. Although modern and contemporary understandings for humanity draw from a biological definition of species, ethnohuman speciation remains arguably fundamental to Western and global society through sociopolitical assumptions and biosocial understandings for international law and universal human rights. This chapter explores ethnocentrism associated with ethnohuman speciation specifically when modern Western concepts of multiculturalism and human rights are challenged through anxiety for ‘foreign’ and ‘Islamic’ terrorism. Intended impacts involve a more critical and refined understanding of ‘multiculturalism,’ along with re-examination of debates involving human rights in the context of assumptions for foreign or religiously motivated terrorism.




David E. Bell also edited this book.

This is a chapter in Strangers, Aliens, Foreigners The Politics of Othering from Migrants to Corporations, edited by Marissa Sonnis-Bell, David E. Bell and Michelle Ryan. © 2018 Brill. https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004383128

Find this book at your library.

Buy this book on Amazon.

Additional Files