In phenomenology, the terms the Other and the Constitutive Other identify the other human being, in his and her differences from the Self, as being a cumulative, constituting factor in the self-image of a person; as his or her acknowledgement of being real; hence, the Other is dissimilar to and the opposite of the Self, of Us, and of the Same. The Constitutive Other is the relation between the personality (essential nature) and the person (body) of a human being; it is the relation of essential and superficial characteristics of personal identity that corresponds to the relation between opposite, but corresponding, characteristics of the Self, because the difference is inner-difference, within the Self.
The condition and quality of Otherness, the characteristics of the Other, is the state of being different from and alien to the social identity of a person and to the identity of the Self. In the discourse of philosophy, the term Otherness identifies and refers to the characteristics of Who? and What? of the Other, which are distinct and separate from the Symbolic order of things; from the Real (the authentic and unchangeable); from the æsthetic (art, beauty, taste); from political philosophy; from social norms and social identity; and from the Self. Therefore, the condition of Otherness is a person's non-conformity to and with the social norms of society; and Otherness is the condition of disenfranchisement (political exclusion), effected either by the State or by the social institutions (e.g. the professions) invested with the corresponding socio-political power. Therefore, the imposition of Otherness alienates the labelled person from the centre of society, and places him or her at the margins of society, for being the Other.
The term Othering describes the reductive action of labelling a person as someone who belongs to a subordinate social category defined as the Other. The practice of Othering is the exclusion of persons who do not fit the norm of the social group, which is a version of the Self. Likewise, in the field of human geography, the action term to Other identifies and excludes a person from the social group, placing him or her at the margins of society, where the social norms do not apply to and for the person labelled as the Other.
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