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Othering: Toward an Understanding of Difference

Canales, Mary K., RN, PhD

Advances in Nursing Science: June 2000 - Volume 22 - Issue 4 - p 16-31
Vulnerability and Empowerment: Part I

This article proposes a theoretical framework for analyzing how we engage with Others, those perceived as different from self. This engagement, termed Othering, is presented as two particular processes: Exclusionary and Inclusionary. A theoretical framework is developed from a review of the literature and interpretations of completed research exploring the teaching practices of doctorally prepared Latina nursing faculty. Conceptualizing Othering as both exclusive and inclusive processes expands the boundaries for understanding and interacting with those perceived as different. Exclusionary Othering often utilizes the power within relationships for domination and subordination, whereas Inclusionary Othering attempts to utilize power within relationships for transformation and coalition building. The implications of this framework for nursing practice are addressed.

Assistant Professor; University of Vermont; School of Nursing; Burlington, Vermont

I acknowledge the assistance of the Bowers research team, particularly Drs Barbara Bowers and Sally Norton, for their contributions toward the conceptual development of this article. I am especially grateful to all of the women who participated in the study. Thank you for sharing your lives with me.

Copyright © 2000 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.