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Author Topic: Othering...  (Read 1598 times)

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Offline aaware72

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  • Posts: 226
« on: April 24, 2014, 11:04:20 AM »
This something I recently wrote.  Not sure where to post this, but I decided I want to share...

Appelrouth & Edles (2008) explains that othering is the process of creating and maintaining a contrast between ones-self as compared, by a particular western identity and the other. (p. 816-817) In Edward Said’s notion of Oriental-ism it was political vision where it was a structure that promoted the difference between that of the west (Europe) and that of the east (Orient).  Oriental-ism is a non-rational view of how to use racist attitudes and practices which were used to exploit and dominate other regions of the world.  This was done by using propaganda to make the people of the east appear uncivilized and inferior to those of the west. (Appelrouth & Edles, 2008, p. 825) Another example of the notion of Oriental-ism is what happened during the colonization of North America and what became the United States.  These same tactics were used here in the colonies against the Native Americas.  A more modern day definition of othering is the process used by a dominant group to define the existence of a secondary group in society.  Rules are enforced to demean members of the secondary group.  Othering is further broken down into two separate types of Othering.  First there is what is called oppressive othering, which is where words are used that are rude or vulgar to describe members of a secondary group that cause harm.  The other type of othering is defensive othering, which happens when people from the secondary group distance themselves from fellow members of their group.  This is done to try and prevent them from being subject to othering.  In the end this is ineffective in the group, because it reinforces negative stereotypes that the dominant groups have instilled on the secondary group. (Iowa State University, 2014) In today’s society othering is rampant in society.  One of the groups that has seen the effect of Othering is the Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) community. 

You first might think that when we talk about othering it only happens from the society at large towards that of the LGBT community and there is truth to that notion, but othering is also happening within the LGBT community.  Rule, P. & John, V. (2008) explains there when it comes to the social pathology of HIV/AIDS the notion of othering has a particular relevance.  Studies have shown that those infected or otherwise affected by the diseases that there is evidence that there is a stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and it manifest itself through radial othering.  What this causes is silence, secrecy, denial, and distancing oneself to avoid the stigmatization of HIV/AIDS.  This led to an undermining of solidarity within the LGBT community and creates the boundary within the community of us and them or those that are HIV negative or positive.  HIV/AIDS has seen the effect of othering since early history and that was demonstrated by the name that was first given to this disease; Gay-related Immune Deficiency (GRID) This soon was changed when testing became possible and the new form of othering was that HIV positive people could be separated from the larger group in society.  Those that choose to test within the LGBT community, being gay and bisexual men risk themselves to being othered.  This group that is stigmatized happens at many levels and those infected themselves become internally oppressed through violence, isolation, discriminatory practice, and labeling.  This has become to be known as HIVism; “a pervasive system of discrimination and exclusion of the oppressed people who are living with HIV/AIDS”.  Othering is a strategy of identifying, differentiating, subordination, and discriminating against the HIV infected or affected other is the basis of HIVism.  (p. 80-84)


Appelrouth, S. & Edles, D, L. (2008) Classical and Contemporary Sociological Theory. Thousand Oaks: CA Pine Forge Press: Sage Publications.

Iowa State University (2014) Social Problems and Social Change.  Retrieved on April 7, 2014,  from, http://www.soc.iastate.edu/Sapp/soc235change.html

Rule, P. and John, V. (2008) Unbinding the other in the context of HIV/AIDS and education. Retrieved on April 7, 2014, from, http://joe.ukzn.ac.za/Libraries/No_43_Mar_2008/Unbinding_the_other_in_the_context_of_HIV_AIDS_and_education.sflb.ashx
"Yes, knowledge is power. Self-knowledge brings mastery of one's body."

Offline zach

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Re: Othering...
« Reply #1 on: April 24, 2014, 12:28:03 PM »
othering is a universal human condition, evolved as a survival mechanism. in this context, yes, it is based in fear. but isn't it always. its a deep biological drive that drives us to create tribes, to feel safe with one, threatened by the other. takes alot to rise above that


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