I wonder if "racism" can be used to refer to discrimination against people from other regions within the same country. According to the Oxford dictionary, the definition of "racism" is:

Prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.

So it is up to the definition of "race".

Now, the definition of "race" is:

Each of the major divisions of humankind, having distinct physical characteristics.

However, people from other regions usually don't have different physical characteristics.

Is there any such word to refer to discrimination against people who were born and/or grew up in other regions within the same country?

  • Related: english.stackexchange.com/questions/396294/…
    – Golden Cuy
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 11:52
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    It’s worth noting that “racism” is used in many contexts that don’t always relate to race (which is a vague concept to begin with), and is often an umbrella term encompassing xenophobia, antisemitism and islamophobia, amongst others. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 16:07
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    Usually it is helpful to provide an example sentence showing how the word will be used. (I think provincialism is such a slam dunk, though, that it's not so critical in this case.) Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 17:56
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    "...based on the belief that one's own race is superior." And what about the belief that the other race is superior?
    – MC Emperor
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:01
  • The answers are addressing a different understanding of the question to mine, so for clarity: do you want a term for discrimination against everyone who isn't from my region ("We're better than everyone else") or for discrimination against people who are from one or more specific regions other than my own ("People from there are inbreds")? Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 8:39

11 Answers 11


Sectarianism is a technically valid word for describing it. The Wikipedia article on sectarianism mentions differences in regions within a country as an example of the phenomenon:

Sectarianism is a form of bigotry, discrimination, or hatred arising from attaching relations of inferiority and superiority to differences between subdivisions within a group. Common examples are denominations of a religion, ethnic identity, class, or region for citizens of a state and factions of a political movement.

However, the word is most commonly used for differences between two groups within the same religion.

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    Good answer. Then this would be better as a compound word, such as "regional sectarianism".
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 10:28

Provincialism seems appropriate. Wikipedia equates parochialism but the concept of parish might not translate so well around the world.

The second definition from Oxford Dictionaries fits well:

Concern for one's own area or region at the expense of national or supranational unity.

  • That was going to my choice as well. +1
    – Deepak
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 6:59
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    This sounds a good word but I wonder if this can be used for people in the capital area. According to Oxford dictionary: The way of life characteristic of the regions outside the capital city of a country, especially when regarded as unsophisticated or narrow-minded.
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 12:41
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    @Blaszard The folks in the city center surely wouldn't think so, but OD's definitions 1.1 and 2. at your link would apply to them, as well: Narrow-mindedness, insularity, or lack of sophistication. . . . Concern for one's own area or region at the expense of national or supranational unity. I'm not 100% convinced that provincialism necessarily includes discriminating against folks from other areas once they have come to your region, but I think it's pretty close.
    – 1006a
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 14:18
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    Provincialism is often used to refer to the opinions and habits of people from small towns, as opposed to the capital and other large cities. I think this makes it less suitable for the OP's use case.
    – user221615
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 20:20
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    Good job adding a definition. I also added the name of your source, and quote formatting; feel free to modify that edit as desired.
    – 1006a
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 17:21

chauvinism, Merriam-Webster

undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs or has belonged •regional chauvinism

We all know what a male chauvinist is, but chauvinism or chauvinist can be used in almost any context.

For example, an MIT student might say:

I am unabashedly a MIT chauvinist, especially when it comes to Harvard -- that playboy's school down the road.

You can have New York City chauvinists, Southern chauvinists...you name it; although chauvinist will sound peculiar in some contexts, the meaning will be clear.

Origin: See Nicolas Chauvin, Wikipedia:

Nicolas Chauvin (French: is a legendary, possibly apocryphal French soldier and patriot who is supposed to have served in the First Army of the French Republic and subsequently in La Grande Armée of Napoleon. His name is the eponym of chauvinism, originally a term for excessive nationalistic fervor, but later used to refer to any form of bigotry or bias (e.g., male chauvinism).

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    While certainly a valid answer, I would caution against using this day-to-day on account of the common interchangeability of "chauvinist" and "male chauvinist." Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 15:22

This could also be termed Tribalism.

Definition of tribalism, from Merriam-Webster

1 : tribal consciousness and loyalty; especially : exaltation of the tribe above other groups

2 : strong in-group loyalty


I would try xenophobia: in its broad sense means hatred of foreigners ( xenos ) in Greek. From a historical point of view, when the term xenos was coined they were no nations like we know them now so a village across the valley was or could be a place of xenoi people.

Xenophobia, Merriam-Webster

fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign


You could call it regionism.

You're right about racism: it is properly confined to discriminating by race, and the concept of human races is an 18th-century European construct based on different physical characteristics of the body, especially of the head, face, and skin. The traditional four races are black, white, red, and yellow. It has little basis in genetics and is considered obsolete in science. It is thought better by some to drop the term entirely in favour of discrimination; but, if one must use it, it is advised to stick with the traditional division, in which e.g. the average person in Iraq or India belongs to the white race irrespective of skin colour. (That's the kind of unappealing debate you may get into when you use the word racism.)

  • Although regionalism doesn't necessarily mean prejudice; it can simply mean noting or promoting regional differences, specialties, or idiosyncrasies.
    – Davo
    Commented Aug 15, 2017 at 17:38
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    Davo but it does have a very bad connotation. Describing differences between races will always be seen as racist, no matter how factual
    – Jacques
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 8:08
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    regionism? regionalism?
    – Blaszard
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 12:41
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    @Davo Nationalism also technically doesn't imply prejudice, but that's usually how it works out with nationalists.
    – Cubic
    Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 13:58
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    "Regionism" needs a citation, unless you're proposing it as a neologism. Wiktionary just gives it as a synonym for "regionalism" which doesn't have discriminatory meanings. Commented Aug 16, 2017 at 19:52

I know Italian is not what you're looking for, but google and have a read on "campanilismo". This is a very well founded phenomenon in Italy.

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    So why not provide the link, the best one that is the most accurate and pertinent. Why propose an answer in a completely different language and tell a user to Google it? Yes, "campanilismo" is perfect in Italian where it is the norm to have rivalries between neighbouring villages and towns, let alone regions.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 9:41
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    I think this is relevant. Italy has a longer history of internal divisions than most countries of the Anglosphere, hence the need for a term to describe regional hostility.
    – Placidia
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 12:22

You already have some good answers. Nevertheless consider the following words:


affection or partiality for a particular place : sectionalism

EDIT: Jack Aidley called to my attention that Localism has a different meaning in UK English. And I quote (Cambridge Dictionary):

the idea that people should have control over what happens in their local area, that local businesses should be supported, and that differences between places should be respected


an exaggerated devotion to the interests of a region

NOTE: This is different from sectarism.

In some contexts you might also consider:


1: a policy of favoring native inhabitants as opposed to immigrants

2: the revival or perpetuation of an indigenous culture especially in opposition to acculturation

  • Localism is, however, usually used in political discourse for having decisions made at the local level rather than preferential treatment of locals - at least in the UK. Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 11:48
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    @JackAidley Indeed it seems the Cambridge Dictionary gives the word Localism a different meaning. I'll edit the answer to add a warning about this. Thank you for the heads-up.
    – armatita
    Commented Aug 17, 2017 at 12:21

I would suggest using terms such as biased, prejudiced, or discrimination instead of racism when indicating negativity aimed at someone due to their religious beliefs. Chauvinism and racism have come to mean very specific things and would make things more confusing.


This probably comes from German, but here in Slovenia we also use the term "local patriot"/(ism)", which is quite descriptive in any language (but it does have a negative connotation).


I don't think there is a word that conveys exactly what you want, probably because the reality you want to express is rare in the English speaking world. You could use "prejudice", although that is a very general term. Extreme prejudice of the kind that leads to political discrimination, typically coalesces around differences of race, religion or language. We have words for each of these things.

The only exception I can think of is the prejudice that American northerners express towards southerners -- but since the northerners have no moral qualms about this, no one has thought to come up with a word for "despising a group of people previously defeated in a civil war".

In general, where two groups of people have race, language, religion, citizenship and ideology in common, animosity due to regional differences can usually be overcome through the recognition of common ground and shared interests. Mutual hatred does not occur and the word you seek is not needed.

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    "the reality you want to express is rare in the English speaking world" - really??! I can think of many examples on lots of scales (from village vs village to nation vs nation) in the UK, and I find it hard to believe that the same isn't true to some extent in every country large enough to have regions. Human nature doesn't vary quite that much, Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 9:01
  • regional animosities exist, but words like racism and islamophobia are fairly new and reflect a political campaign to change people's group identities. The XIXth century English did not see their contempt for Irish Catholics as anything other than a sign of good judgment on their part, for example.
    – Placidia
    Commented Aug 18, 2017 at 15:09

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