Start Geo Dictionary | Overview | Topics | Groups | Categories | Bookmark this page.
geology dictionary - geography encyclopedia  
Full text search :        
   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   #   




  In her classic text The second sex, Simone de Beauvoir (1949) charts the ideological tradition of treating \'woman\' as always Other to man (cf. ideology). According to de Beauvoir, \'otherness is a fundamental category of human thought … as primordial as consciousness itself\' (1972, pp. 16-17). De Beauvoir insists that to be the Other is the basic trait of woman: \'To decline to be the Other, to refuse to be a party to the deal — this would be for women to renounce all the advantages conferred upon them by the alliance with the superior caste\' (p. 21). The female is used by the male as his \'Other\'; she remains the object, unable to become a subject in her own right. Though de Beauvoir\'s work has been criticized for \'idealist universalism\' and \'latent biologism\' through her association of women with nature and men with culture (Okely, 1996, pp. 12-13), her concept of Otherness has subsequently been extended to many different contexts where the Self is defined in contrast to various socially significant Others.

The duality of Self and Other is a recurrent feature of the politics of knowledge. In his exploration of the psychology of colonialism, for example, Frantz Fanon (1967) shows how the \'exotic\' colonial Other simultaneously provided a source of fascination and fear, evoking contradictory emotions of desire and dread in the mind of the colonizer. Similarly, Edward Said\'s (1978) work on Orientalism demonstrates how \'the Orient\', as a cultural construction, has provided Europeans with their deepest and most enduring sense of the Other.

Geographers have applied these ideas to studies of racialization (e.g. Anderson, 1991), the stigmatization of the disabled, homeless and mentally ill (e.g. Dear and Wolch, 1987) and other forms of socio-spatial exclusion (e.g. Sibley, 1995). While critical studies such as these clearly have emancipatory potential, recent developments in ethnography and cultural studies (see culture) have been criticized for their obsessive fascination with otherness: \'where the “Other” is always made object, appropriated, interpreted, taken over by those in power, by those who dominate\' (hooks, 1990, p. 125).

As projections of the dominant imagination, constructions of otherness raise fundamental questions about positionality. Drawing on feminist theory and psychoanalysis, recent work in feminist geography has shown how the Same-Other structure of masculinist discourse reveals the limits of geographical knowledge (Rose, 1993), leading to an inability to recognize difference. (PAJ)

References Anderson, K.J. 1991: Vancouver\'s Chinatown. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen\'s University Press). Beauvoir, S. de 1949: The second sex. Harmondsworth: Penguin (1972 edition). Dear, M.J. and Wolch, J.R. 1987: Landscapes of despair. Cambridge: Polity Press). Fanon, F. 1967: Black skin, white masks. New York: Grove Press). hooks, b. 1990: Yearning: race, gender, and cultural politics. Toronto: Between the Lines; Okely, J. 1996: Own or other culture. London: Routledge). Rose, G. 1993: Feminism and geography. Cambridge: Polity Press). Said, E.W. 1978: Orientalism. London: Routledge. Sibley, D. 1995: Geographies of exclusion. London: Routledge.



Bookmark this page:



<< former term
next term >>


Other Terms : geopiety | environmental movement | homelessness
Home |  Add new article  |  Your List |  Tools |  Become an Editor |  Tell a Friend |  Links |  Awards |  Testimonials |  Press |  News |  About
Copyright ©2009 GeoDZ. All rights reserved.  Terms of Use  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us