O is for Othering


Reading “6 Reasons You Should Stop Obsessing Over Alignment in Yoga Class,” makes me think I should write “6 Reasons You Should Stop Othering in Yoga Writing.” My training is in an alignment-based yoga practice, and I was taught to value and learn from a multiplicity of styles. I do not understand this rush to identify one’s own as “the real yoga.” There are many different views within yoga, and I do not understand how any of them are served by tearing down “the other(s).”

An A-Z of ELT

‘Othering’ is the way members of one social group distance themselves from, or assert themselves over, another by construing the latter as being fundamentally different (the ‘Other’).  It is a term that is associated with discourses of colonialism, and, in particular, with the work of Edward Said. In his influential book Orientalism , (1995: 332) Said wrote:

‘The development and maintenance of every culture requires the existence of another different and competing alter ego.  The construction of identity… whether Orient or Occident, France or Britain… involves establishing opposites and otherness whose actuality is always subject to the continuous interpretation and reinterpretation of their differences from us‘.

A discussion of otherness arose last week in my MA TESOL discourse analysis class. One of the students had posted this diagram from Kaplan’s (1966) seminal study of different, culturally-determined, styles of expository writing. According to Kaplan, text production is influenced by different…

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About Richard Hudak

I am Senior Adjunct Faculty in Sociology at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, and I have been a practitioner of Anusara™ yoga. I have completed 200 hours of teacher training within its diaspora community, consistent with its philosophy and alignment principles.
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