Accepted paper:

Other otherings: exclusions and inclusions in political processes


Andrew Strathern (University of Pittsburgh)

Paper short abstract:

This paper considers three contexts of othering in which similarities or differences between people are amplified to a point of justifying their exclusion or inclusion in political processes.

Paper long abstract:

There are several different kinds of othering, but the basic process involves a reduction of perceptions of similarity to the point where violent action against persons appears justified. Further, there are different kinds of violence, from psychological intimidation to physical killing. Othering is a persistent factor in political activity from the micro to the macros-levels. In this paper we look at three very different contexts which all contain marked elements of othering , hand in hand with the construction of similarity. One context has to do with clan politics and witchcraft in Papua New Guinea. Another has to do with small group dynamics in which a combination of closed factions within a larger sub-group can function to .other. anyone left out from the faction, regardless of the rubric. Finally we look to the current run-up to the impending referendum in Scotland in which numerous cross-cutting autogenic otherings are created by the emergence of distinct interests, one set of such otherings having to do with who has or should have the right to vote in the referendum itself.

panel P26
Nationalism, democracy and morality: a historical and anthropological approach to the role of moral sentiments in contemporary politics