Is this person gay?

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2 Responses

  1. kiyallsmith says:

    Simmel makes some interesting points about the Other in his writing _The Stranger_. There, he exposes the benefits of occupying the position of Other in addition to the ways that it can lead to forms of violence.


  2. pacard says:

    Thanks for pointing out to this seminal text. I think Simmel’s position embeds the discourse on representations of types, very similar to the one highlighted in the post. Playing with the concepts of nearness and distance, he links the ‘stranger-danger’ discourse to the symbolic construction of community. The ‘estrangement’ happens “when the consciousness that only the quite general is common, stresses that which is not common” (p. 3).
    But, I ask, how do we get to that consciousness? What role has photographic representation in the construction of the symbolic community? What notions of homogeneity and togetherness are we prioritizing when we attempt to photograph what we see as a ‘community’? And, what kind of idea of community this discourse imply in the first place?
    Others, like Richard Sennet, privilege the encounter with strangers as at the very heart of urban living, from which an incomplete sense of personal identity, as well as re-assembled communities (I think here of Luc Nancy and Iris Marion Young), might emerge. Others, so to speak, might refuse a blase’ attitude to the metropolis. I think there is hope in Levinas’ ethics.
    Best, Paolo.

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