In the last few decades, a sociology and politics of difference has altered the landscape of scholarship and politics. The analytic of difference challenged universalistic notions of the subject, identity, society, inequality and knowledge. The critical category of the Other emerges within this discourse of difference; the former has steadily gained prominence as a powerful resource for analysis and critique. Unfortunately, this concept is often embraced for its rhetorical and political force without careful consideration of its conceptual meaning. In this article, I argue that the concept of the Other must be analytically distinguished from that of ‘difference’. If the latter speaks to patterns of social disadvantage, Otherness is fundamentally about cultural denigration and exclusion. Approaching the notion of the Other as embedded in a world-ordering moral-symbolic division between a state of civil purity and defilement, I outline the rudiments of a theory of the Other.
American Journal of Cultural Sociology – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 12, 2013