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I recently used the word 'nepotism' to describe an advantage attained due to sharing a common background. The person I said this to thought that that was too liberal an extension of the word. I agree, but I couldn't come up with anything better. What is the word that would describe this?

  • Racism might be applicable. – 200_success Nov 16 '14 at 6:42
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Chauvinism is the best fit I can think of. It makes clear that the partisanship is based on shared culture and nationality.

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This article compares different types of favoritism, including "Compatriotism," which sounds appropriate in your example:

http://m.jcc.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/09/08/0022022110381120.abstract

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As mentioned by Josh 61, nepotism wouldn't fit.

nepotism - the unfair practice by a powerful person of giving jobs and other favors to relatives

I would suggest "cultural discrimination" or "cultural bias"

A bias may be favorable or unfavorable."e.g. "He showed a bias toward a few workers in particular." "My boss seems to be biased against.../in favor of..."

bias - noun - "a tendency to believe that some people, ideas, etc., are better than others that usually results in treating some people unfairly"

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I think partisanship may suggest the idea you are referring to: (from TFD)

  • an inclination to favor one group or view or opinion over alternatives.

also lobbyism is used to refer to :

  • A group of persons engaged in trying to influence legislators or other public officials in favor of a specific cause: the nationalistic lobby; the labor lobby etc.

Nepotism may work especially if the common background is family and relatives:

  • nepotism - favoritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power (as by giving them jobs)
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at the risk of being voted down i would say "homecourt advantage" is quite popular in the English-speaking world...

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    This really only works if the common background that provides the advantage is the same one in which the advantage is being offered in. A Brit living in Nashville, Tennessee giving a job to a another Brit based upon his origins isn't a situation in which anyone's really enjoying a "homecourt advantage". – 1252748 Nov 16 '14 at 19:44
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how about "simpatico" - essentially being on the same wavelength as someone else or people (so to speak)...

  • You can be ¨simpatico¨ with somebody from an entirely different background, and not simpatico at all with somebody from your own home-town, nation etc. It refers to with compatible personality types, or highly empathic people. It isn´t really relevant and even if it were, you are not showing how it could be used to describe advantage gained through this empathic connection. – itsbruce Nov 17 '14 at 13:56

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