In an article, someone conveys their view of a country and mentions a property called claustrophobic insularity. I googled those word getting nothing useful.

I get that claustrophobic has to do with fear of enclosed spaces and insularity is preference for introversion of cultural focus. However, that specific combination tells me little and I definitely can't connect it by context to the properties of the considered country.

1 Answer 1


"Claustrophobic insularity" isn't really a known phrase, just two known words being used together. I think your understanding of the individual words isn't quite right.

Insularity doesn't really mean a preference for being insular. It implies an ignorance of or lack of interest in other cultures.

Claustrophobia is literally the fear of confined spaces but is sometimes also used in a figurative way to refer to other kinds of limitations. It is often used quite glibly by persons with no actual phobia to describe a cramped situation. "Claustrophobic" is sometimes used as an adjective to describe a space that looks cramped.

It would seem a contradiction to say that someone is both insular and figurately claustrophobic - you cannot be afraid of something you are unaware (ignorant) of. I understand the phrase to be an insult - the writer is saying that from their point of view, another person's insularity looks figuratively claustrophobic. In other words, they would not like to live in the confines of ignorance. As an alternative, I might say they were "trapped inside their own tiny mind".


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