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Title: The Other
Contributor(s): Hardy, Joy  (author)
Publication Date: 2007
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Abstract: Concern for the other/Other, which can also be regarded as concern for difference, is a leading motif in postfoundational thought. Concern for the other/Other has a decidedly ethical dimension and opens up spaces for political activism in pursuit of social justice. The “other/Other” complex signals, however, that the concern for difference is not a singular project; within the diverse theoretical landscape of postfoundational thought, concerns address different differences. Following the logic of postfoundational thought, which utterly opposes totalization, the different differences cannot and should not be dialectically resolved. Such a resolution would deprive difference—the other/Other—of the honor of its name. The use or the lack of upper case to designate the other/Other is a deliberate choice to convey particular meanings. There is not an accepted convention within postfoundational thought; postfoundational scholars use the other/Other complex variously. Therefore, knowledge of individual scholars' work is necessary to determine the particular meaning to be conveyed, and individual scholars are not always consistent with the differentiation of the other/Other within their work. At the broadest level, however, the “other” usually refers to the disenfranchised other, whereas the “Other” usually refers to the radically Other, to an utter excessiveness, to an irreducible and inassimilable alterity that cannot be captured in concepts or language. Theorizations of the Other often draw on notions of infinity, God, and perfection to convey the utter excessiveness of the Other, and continental postfoundational theorizations of the Other are usually haunted by the Holocaust and driven by a commitment to guard against its return. Postfoundational scholars who subscribe to the utter excessiveness of the Other, which cannot be captured in language or concepts, must address the questions of how we can know and speak of the Other.
Publication Type: Entry In Reference Work
Source of Publication: Encyclopedia of Activism and Social Justice
Publisher: Sage Publications
Place of Publication: Thousand Oaks, Calif.
ISBN: 9781412918121
Field of Research (FOR): 220304 Epistemology
HERDC Category Description: N Entry In Reference Work
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