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The Ways We “Other”

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  1. Introduction
  2. Stuart Hall's exploration of the topic of discourse in his Modernity
  3. The relation between the ways of othering
  4. Pollution and stigma
  5. Conclusion
  6. Works cited

Othering occurs every day; sometimes we become so accustomed to it that we cease to notice it or its effects. However, for something so common, othering is surprisingly difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. To me, othering means to exclude someone because of a perceived or real difference; often we ?other? because dealing with differences can be problematic and uncomfortable. Yet, sometimes othering takes on more pernicious and deliberate forms, such as racism and sexism. Through our long history of othering, we have devised many different ways to ?other? others: we stigmatize them, we say they pollute, and we create discourses to separate ?us? from ?them?. While each of these ways of othering is distinct, these systems all illustrate ways in which we put up barriers between ourselves and people different from us.

[...] Each one of the aforementioned ways of othering is related to the others. To me, it seems like stigma and pollution are very interrelated; while one can be stigmatized without being polluted, it does not follow that one can be polluted without being stigmatized. Pollution seems to be a more specific type of stigmatization, while stigma is a more general term for a mark of shame. Furthermore, both terms essentialize people, as if a stigma is the only important characteristic a person possesses. [...]


[...] The Ways We Othering occurs every day; sometimes we become so accustomed to it that we cease to notice it or its effects. However, for something so common, othering is surprisingly difficult to define, but we know it when we see it. To me, othering means to exclude someone because of a perceived or real difference; often we because dealing with differences can be problematic and uncomfortable. Yet, sometimes othering takes on more pernicious and deliberate forms, such as racism and sexism. [...]

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