Mountz (2009). The Other.

Mountz, A. (2009). The Other. In Key concepts in political geography (pp. 328–338). London ; Los Angeles: SAGE.

[“Definition: A Verb and a Noun” (p 328) …]

“As a verb, other means to distinguish, label, categorize, name, identify, place and exclude those who do not fit a societal norm. … ‘Othering’ is the process that makes the other.” (p 328)

“The process of creating the ‘other’ wherein persons or groups are labelled as deviant or non-normative happens through the constant repetition of characteristics about a group of people who are distinguished from the norm in some way. … To require students to pay high tuition fees and to purchase expensive equipment in school is to other those who do not have the material means to do so; it is to place those without money outside of normal.” (p 328)

[“Evolution and Debate: A Rich Intellectual Lineage” (p 329) …]

“Postcolonial scholars, for example, demonstrated that colonizing powers narrated an ‘other’ whom they set out to save, dominate, control, civilize, and/or extract resources through colonization.” (p 329)

“Postmodernism revelled in difference and in the deconstruction of binaries, essentially (and sometimes in essentializing fashion) celebrating ‘otherness’.” (p 330)

“Poststructural philosophies coming largely out of France by scholars including Jacques Derrida (1973), Jacques Lacan (1977), Michel Foucault (1970, 1991) and Julia Kristeva (1982) also produced insights on the ‘other’ in their theoretical examinations of difference. … In particular, these scholars relied on an approach known as social constructionism, which critiques the idea that true meanings underlie language. Rather, this approach holds that to name (or categorize) something is to fix its meaning, often around a few essentialized attributes; to ‘other’ through the language of identification.” (p 331)

“Critical race theorists, building on the work of poststructuralists, examined the construction of racialized categories that placed non-normative [page break] racial and ethnic markings and identities outside the norm. … In 1951, however, physical anthropologists working for the United Nations produced a report pronouncing that the differences between races were less significant than the commonalities or sameness across races, and hence all humans belonged to a single human race (Hyndman 2000). And yet, racialized categories continue as important measurements of difference. The United States government still takes a census of its population and asks individuals to distinguish themselves by race, thus reinforcing that race matters as a category of difference.” (p 332)

“Often social scientists themselves do the othering by conducting studies in ways that homogenize and essentialize entire groups of people.” (p 332)

“Cultural geographies of the ‘other’ rely heavily on spatial metaphors to locate and place identities and difference in the landscape. [page break] … Likewise, political geographers have used the concept of the ‘other’ to examine how powerful countries dominate less powerful countries, regions or localities in an effort to legitimize their exploitation.” (p 332-333)

[“Case Study: Sexuality and Regionality” (p 333) …]

[“Case Study 1: Sexual Identity as ‘Other'” (p 333) …]

“The realities of othering influence where we live, how we live and how we survive.” (p 334)

[“Case Study 2: Colonizing ‘the Other'” (p 336) …]

“Much of this discussion has addressed the discursive realm where ‘the other’ is conceptualized through knowledge production, but such processes [page break] are linked time and again to disastrous imperial projects in the international theatre.” (p 336-337)

“In _The Colonial Present_, Derek Gregory (2004) argues that colonialism is alive and well. … Culcasi studied dozens of maps of the region produced by American and British cartographers alongside maps created by cartographers from the region, focusing especially on maps produced in and housed by Egypt. She finds that cartographers external to the region imposed an artificial regional identity on the landscape, one that illustrated ‘flagrant disregard of the Arab right to self-determination’ (Culcasi 2008: 265).” (p 337)

[“The Future of the ‘Other’?” (p 337) …]

“Studies of race and sexuality, gender and class, ability and disability will not be cast off to the margins of university disciplines in the social sciences, but will infuse and inform them.” (p 338)

Selected References

  • Culcasi, K. (2008). Unpublished PhD Dissertation. Syracuse University. New York.
  • Derrida, J. (1973). Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of
    Signs. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.
  • Foucault, M. (1970). The Order of Things: An Archaeology of the Human Sciences. London: Tavistock.
  • Foucault, M. (1991). The History of Sexuality, Volume 1. New York: Vintage.
  • Gregory, D. (2004). The Colonial Present: Afghanistan. Palestine. Iraq. Wiley.
  • Hyndman, J. (2000). Managing Displacement: Refugees and the Politics of Humanitarianism. University of Minnesota Press.
  • Kristeva, J. (1982). The Powers of Horror. New York: Columbia University Press.
  • Lacan, J . (1977). Ecrits: A Selection. New York: Norton.
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