This panel examines the ways in which relations between alterity and otherness are increasingly mediated by socio-political hierarchies and cosmopolitical contexts and encounters.
Alterity and otherness are important social concepts through which people negotiate everyday sociality and identity. This panel examines how relations between alterity and otherness are increasingly mediated by socio-political hierarchies and cosmopolitical contexts and encounters. Ethnographic analyses of Amazonian perspectivism and Melanesian dividuality showcase how understandings of the self and the individual interact and become diffracted through processes of human and non-human (such as objects, spirits, and animals) relationality. Reconfigurations between self and otherness also become evident in contexts where a transition into capitalist and privatised modes of production is being made. More recently, in the direct aftermath of political crisis, alterity and otherness have become the axis on which political hierarchies and alliances of solidarity and social welfare are negotiated and constructed within Europe. The capacity to conduct a movement between self and other is hence a social and cognitive skill through which alterity and otherness are discerned and granted intent amid milieus of increasing socio-political hybridity and inequality. Theorising the movement between self and other hence demands that we pay attention to historical and contemporary mechanisms of social inclusion and exclusion which such movement between self and other is encouraged or prohibited. Such theoretical endeavour likewise demands attention to the manner in which collective understandings of individuality and otherness shift or become further embedded in transitionary processes, as well as the ways in which and social boundaries are drawn.