“A BIT OF “THE OTHER”: CRITICAL THEORY IN 4 MINUTES. BY STEVEN BENSON

1.The idea of the “other” is used in POST-STRUCTURALIST  thought as an alternative to the STRUCTURALIST binary OPPOSITION: (eg. straight/gay; man/woman), which was seen as embedded in linguistic forms. Thus, Foucault, and , later, Feminist and Gender Theorists,and Queer Theorists,pointed out that : 1. gender was at least partly socially constructed;( hence psychological androgyny, genderqueer, transgender as alternatives ways of being); that “female” was societally and hegemonically CONSTRUCTED as the (unprivileged/deprivileged) other to “male”. Similarly, sexual orientation was historically, and because of a discourse of power, constructed as you are strictly homosexual(other/aberrant, hence marginalised) OR heterosexual(mainstream, in power); Foucault exploded this latter binary and explained that there was a spectrum of sexual orientation,where we were all either at one end OR somewhere in the middle, or even shift positions at difference times or occupy “different” positions simultaneously.

2.So “other” is also used, in structuralism , as a tool of privilege(and retaining it): ie the NEGATIVE other against the which the mainstream “non-other” defines itself (as supreme);cf white VERSUS{sic!} black in apartheid.

3. POSTSTRUCTURALISM pointed this out and how difference/power were, at root, LINGUISTICALLY constructed: eg “how gay is that!, gay here meaning naff/tasteless/boring, where the pejorative meanings reflect the marginalised other.

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thinking more free-flowingly(!): we are all someone else’s other and their same, concomitantly; viz. there are things in each of us which are other/different, but also things that are the same, as well, as various(non-binary!) amalgams therof. Cf. sexual attraction(same or opposite sex attraction; no prima facie difference here despite various loaded theories, eg re homosexual “narcissism”): we can be attracted by similarity(physical or psychological) or difference/other(opposite/same genitalia; hair colour etc etc).

The other is , sometimes, not always, our OWN other: hence a lot of homophobia(lit.fear of the same), which often arises from people’s fears of the other (the non 100% heterosexual) in THEMSELVES, which  is unactualised/repressed; which same abjected other is EXternalised onto openly lgbt people as a projection/sublimation of these unrealised desires.

Connectedly, the DOPPELGANGER(double); interesting: a relexion of urself, even a copy , but a sort of uncanny simalcrum; the same yet other; you but not you; cf the German phrase “Unheimliche heimat”(“Unhomely/Uncanny homeland”). Eg we feel at home in our childhood bedroom in one way, but in another we are scared of returning to our own PAST  other; we need to distance ourselves from that past other, because we may have psychologically moved on; so we feel at home, but uncomfortable: it may well be a part (yet of OURSLVES) that we have individuated from/split off from ourselves in later life; though there is at the same time, a strange comfort in so returning to this uncanny homeland.

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LINK TO DIALOGICALITY/DIALOGISM

idea of subselves, or own internal other(so can be in many different forms); the other person as the Thou; me as the I(Buber). Also, my EXTERNAL, garnered together I reaches out to ur similarly gathered together THOU, as equals(therefore partly equating with the poststructuralist analysis); no power/privilege binary

 

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ENTHUSIASMS: CLASSICAL MUSIC, ESPECIALLY OBSCURE ROMANTIC COMPOSERS; BACH/HANDEL LITERATURE, ESPECIALLY THOUGHTFUL, WELL-WRITTEN(STYLISTICALLY)NOVELS W G SEBALD WALTER BENJAMIN THEODOR ADORNO(JUST BEGINNING!) AESTHETIC PHILOSOPHY GAY MEN'S WRITING;QUEER THEORY STIMULATING DISCUSSIONS(EMOTIONALLY AND INTELLECTUALLY) GOOD RICH THICK ESPRESSO MICHAEL PONTI SPRITUALITY/LIFE'S "AURA"(BENJAMIN), WHATEVER TRANSCENDENTAL THING YOU WANT TO CALL THIS MEMORY-the elusiveness thereof. LOST TIME AND AN ATTEMPT AT ITS REDEMPTION(NON THEISTICALLY/RELIGIOUSLY)
This entry was posted in alterity, doppelganger, Foucault, gay, other, Phenomenology, queer, Self-actualisation, SPECTRAL PSYCHOGEOGRAPHY, Stream-of-consciousness, uncanny other, Utopia, working outside hegemonies and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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