"Who is the Other?": The Intersection of Anthropological and Theological Discourse On U.S. Relations with Latin American Refugees

Date

2020

Authors

Jones, Sarah

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

The existence of oneself logically necessitates the existence of another, for being able to define what one is requires that one differentiates from what one is not. This is referred to as the self-other dichotomy. The tendency to differentiate between oneself and another, or the Self and the Other, is not uncommon, and is apparent in nearly all manifestations of identity and within human societies. Yet within Western civilization, this dichotomy has been unjustly utilized as an epistemological framework for Western ideologies to exalt the West as superior in comparison to non-Western nations, establishing what the discipline of anthropology refers to as the Anthropological Other. This term is utilized to consolidate any reference to cultures that exist outside of the Western tradition, with the Western tradition in contrast becoming known as the Self. Such a dichotomy has served to establish an “us-vs-them” mentality within United States relations with Latin American refugees, thereby begging the question as to the root of such dehumanized interactions. By examining the root of this othering dichotomy within Western civilization, this research unravels the question, "Who is the Other?" explicated through both the discipline of anthropology and theology. For, as this thesis seeks to demonstrate, at the intersection of anthropological and theological inquiries lies a true explication of the Other, as an epistemological framework created by the inability of Western civilization to recognize the Triune God as the Divine Other.

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Keywords

Anthropology, Theology, The Other, Latin American Refugees

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