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Unpublished Paper
The Effect of "Othering" on Public Policy Debates
ExpressO (2009)
  • Susan J. Stabile

The premise of this Article is that an underlying attitude of “othering” pervades current discussions about what the law should and should not do to address the conditions and needs of various categories of persons. Although we do not necessarily acknowledge it, the fact that our discussions proceed from a view of the people whose situations or problems being discussed as “other” makes a difference to how we evaluate various public policy initiatives.

This Article is not an effort to engage in a detailed discussion or resolution of any particular question of law and public policy. Instead its focus is the attitude of othering – where it proceeds from, how law and culture promote it, and how the law might help move us beyond it. The Article begins with a discussion of the prevalence of an attitude that views other people as “other” than the self and then talks about the social, cultural, political and legal forces that promote an attitude of othering. After using several examples to illustrate how the attitude of othering infects public policy debates, it address the question how to change the terms of the discourse, exploring the religious values that combat othering and ways the law might implement those values.

Publication Date
February 10, 2009
Citation Information
Susan J. Stabile. "The Effect of "Othering" on Public Policy Debates" ExpressO (2009)
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