Jensen, Sune Qvotrup. ‘Othering, Identity Formation and Agency’ (2011) [PDF]

Jensen, Sune Qvotrup. ‘Othering, Identity Formation and Agency’. Qualitative Studies, vol. 2, no. 2, Dec. 2011, pp. 63–78.

The article examines the potentials of the concept of othering to describe identity formation among ethnic minorities. First, it outlines the history of the concept, its contemporary use, as well as some criticisms. Then it is argued that young ethnic minority men in Denmark are subject to intersectional othering, which contains elements of exoticist fascination of the other. On the basis of ethnographic material, it is analysed how young marginalized ethnic minority men react to othering. Two types of reactions are illustrated: 1) capitalization on being positioned as the other, and 2) refusing to occupy the position of the other by disidentification and claims to normality. Finally, it is argued that the concept of othering is well suited for understanding the power structures as well as the historic symbolic meanings conditioning such identity formation, but problematic in terms of agency.