Otherness and Othering



9 Questions

What is Otherness?

What is the subaltern native?

What is the concept of the Self?

What is the process of Othering?

What is the dialectic of intersubjectivity?

What is Emmanuel Lévinas' view on the existence of the Other?

What is the racialist perspective of the Western world during the 18th and 19th centuries?

What is the social exclusion function of Othering?

What is the profitable functioning of a colony?


Otherness and Othering in Philosophy, Psychology, and Ethics

  • The Other and Constitutive Other are terms in phenomenology that refer to the other human being as a factor in the self-image of a person, as being real, and opposite of the Self, Us, and Same.

  • The condition and quality of Otherness is the state of being different from and alien to the social identity of a person and to the identity of the Self.

  • Othering is the reductive action of labelling and defining a person as a subaltern native, someone who belongs to the socially subordinate category of the Other.

  • The term Othering excludes persons who do not fit the norm of the social group, which is a version of the Self.

  • The concept of the Self requires the existence of the constitutive Other as the counterpart entity required for defining the Self.

  • Edmund Husserl applied the concept of the Other as the basis for intersubjectivity, the psychological relations among people.

  • Jean-Paul Sartre applied the dialectic of intersubjectivity to describe how the world is altered by the appearance of the Other, and how the world then appears to be oriented to the Other person, and not to the Self.

  • In Totality and Infinity, Emmanuel Lévinas said that the existence of the Other is a matter of ethics, because the ethical priority of the Other equals the primacy of ethics over ontology in real life.

  • The racialist perspective of the Western world during the 18th and 19th centuries was invented with the Othering of non-white peoples, which also was supported with the fabrications of scientific racism.

  • The subaltern native is a colonised people who facilitate the exploitation of their labour, of their lands, and of the natural resources of their country.

  • The social exclusion function of Othering a person or a social group from mainstream society to the social margins is a socio-economic function of gender.

  • The profitable functioning of a colony (economic or settler) requires continual protection of the cultural demarcations that are basic to the unequal socio-economic relation between the "civilised man" (the colonist) and the "savage man", thus the transformation of the Other into the colonial subaltern.Understanding Othering: The Concept of the Other

  • Othering is a process of defining and segregating individuals or groups who are seen as different or non-conforming to the dominant social norms of a society.

  • The process of Othering is often based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexuality, and other social identities.

  • The Other is often seen as inferior, exotic, or dangerous, and is often excluded from mainstream society and subject to discrimination and violence.

  • Othering is a way of establishing power, control, and dominance over those who are seen as different, and is often used to justify political, economic, and social inequalities.

  • Othering is often reinforced through cultural representations, such as media, literature, and art, that perpetuate stereotypes and myths about the Other.

  • Othering can be challenged and resisted by creating spaces and communities that celebrate diversity and difference, and by promoting social justice and equality.

  • Othering is not just a historical or cultural phenomenon, but is also present in contemporary society, and often intersects with other forms of oppression, such as racism, sexism, and homophobia.

  • The process of Othering is complex and multifaceted, and requires critical analysis and reflection to understand its impact on individuals and communities.

  • Othering is not just a negative phenomenon, but can also be a source of creativity, diversity, and innovation, and can be used to challenge and transform dominant social norms and values.

  • Othering is a global phenomenon, and can be seen in many cultures and societies around the world, often in different forms and expressions.

  • Understanding Othering is important for promoting social justice, equality, and human rights, and for building more inclusive and diverse societies.

  • Othering is a concept that has been explored by many scholars and thinkers, including Michel Foucault, Edward Said, and Cheshire Calhoun, and is a key concept in critical race theory, feminist theory, and postcolonial theory.


Test your knowledge on the concepts of Otherness and Othering in philosophy, psychology, and ethics with this insightful quiz. Explore the definitions, historical contexts, and contemporary expressions of Othering, and learn how it intersects with other forms of oppression. Challenge your understanding of the complex and multifaceted process of Othering and its impact on individuals and communities. This quiz is a great opportunity to reflect on the importance of promoting social justice, equality, and human rights, and for building more inclusive and diverse

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