WORLD ANTHROPOLOGICAL UNION

CONGRESS 2024​

SELECTED PANEL

( pn89 )

Dialogues with the Other: positive and enriching encounters with diversity beyond the limits of ontological Otherness

Organizers

    Reet Hiiemäe

    Estonia

    Department of Folkloristics, Estonian Literary Museum

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

    Lidia Julianna GUZY

    Poland

    University College Cork (UCC), National University of Ireland

    Face to Face/ On Site - Presence

IUAES Affiliation: Theoretical Anthropology

IUAES Affiliation: Study of Difference, Discrimination and Marginalization

Keywords:

dialogue, cultural Other, empathy, cultural tolerance, cultural representations

Abstract:

There is comprehensive research on traumatic and victimizing encounters and power imbalances related to the cultural Other. Anthropologists as well as sociologists and psychologists (e.g., Derrida 1978, Bauman 2006; Epley 2014) have frequently seen the roots of severe societal problems and evil in the process of cultural Othering (e.g. exoticization, exploitation, discrimination, marginalization, suppression and annihilation of indigenous or culturally different groups). Yet, there are also researchers who are not satisfied with the black-and-white depiction of the roles of “Us” and the “Other”. For example, Ina-Maria Greverus (1994: 80) raises the question that maybe not the Other, the “primitive” or the peasant societies are the immature societies, but our own? Some researchers propose new terms and viewpoints like “the Other as another Other” (Green 2002) or “the Other of the Other” (Bush 2005). However, such viewpoints would often just put “Us” into the role of the “Other”, thus only reversing the positions but keeping the imbalance. This panel tries to take a broader perspective while looking for positive and enriching encounters with the cultural Other as epitome of cultural tolerance that could set a future model for a more harmonious and empathic co-existence. We are interested in case studies that describe examples of identity constructions that are able to view interactions with diversity without a polarized glimpse or overcome the limits of ontological Otherness. What dialogues are possible for example between the colonizers and the colonized, representatives of the hegemonic power and marginalized groups, between science-based health systems and grassroot alternative healing approaches?