Lecture # 6 – Troll: A Love Story/Strange Love: Crossing the Limits of the Human
Themes and Topics of Consider
•Others and Othering
- The “Other”
-The other inside me
oThe “Other” is that which are categorically not “us” and our identity depends on
seeing them as alien to us. It’s like that for whatever reason, either by
appearance, biology, behaviour, culture or belief; this can be a natural
observation of different, but most often accompanies an assignment of value and
substantial significant to that difference
o“Othering” is the act of defining oneself positively against the absolute and
inferior difference of a defined “other.” Such binaries are always attended by
anxieties, as these definitions are unstable and in constant flux, as the categories
of definition are generally arbitrary and subjective.
oThe problem of othering is that it’s always accompanied by anxiety e.g. racism: to
look at someone from a different background and to see that as inferior, you
have to create conditions to view them that way. Destabilizing occurs.
oThese novels force us to question what we know as normal and what
personhood actually is.
oThe categories are subjective, they aren’t deeply reasoned responses e.g. social
prejudice the categories are alien, deficient and different
oRacism, colonialism, sexism, specisism, homophobia, trans phobia and other
forms of circulent social prejudice are examples
oOthering is about more than just being different: it’s about determining your own
positive value through a rejection of the Other’s negative and absolute difference.
It’s an alienation and distancing act that’s deeply invested in ones’ personal
anxieties of self and identity.
oAside from one another, the most significant relationship humans have with
“others” is with animals, both wild and domesticated and particularly with other
oAnxiety comes from both difference and from shared qualities such as family
structures, behaviours and physical responses. E.g. screams of pan and
aggression, bleeding, suffering, dying pessi becomes something entirely
different by the end b/c of the narrow gap among us