Othering in Communities


What makes up a community is an interesting dynamic. In the Carlisle community I feel like I am not an outsider, but many Carlisle natives may disagree. In many ways students of Dickinson college can be seen as outsiders and this is because students typically live in the area temporarily for four years, and when we live in the area it’s only three months at a time. To a Carlisle local it would be very easy for them to view students as outsiders, they see so many different students coming in and out of the area. With that being said, there are factors that show students belong to the community.  I think the fastest way for someone to belong is for them to contribute to the bettering of that community. Students of Dickinson contribute to the community in a multitude of ways. Shopping at local stores, eating at local restaurants, and volunteering for community events are a few ways that students prove their belonging. However, because the stay is temporary many may still view us students as outsiders. Seeing students as outsiders may cause locals to be critical and skeptical of us. Locals may be worried that we do not share the same values, or have the same standards. I think this can cause a form of division between locals and students. However, this is not always the case, in fact many of my experiences with locals have been positive. However, there is still a feeling that us students are seen as others to the locals.

The action of othering is very important when looking at countries in the Arabian Peninsula. Looking across the world at the countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Yemen, outsiders make up a large percentage of the population. The GCC is seen as one of the most popular destinations for immigrants in the world. These incomers come from a variety of places. Some come from neighboring countries and some come from other continents. Most often, incomers come from different parts of Asia. When looking at potential outsiders in the region, temporary migrant workers are often put into this category by members of the communities and by the countries governments. Due to the Kafala system there are short term contracts to eliminate the possibility of migrant workers staying in the country past when their contracts expire, so the temporary stay often makes it difficult for an individual to attach themselves to the community. Although immigration is very popular, and immigrants make up a very large portion of the population in the GCC many immigrants may still be viewed as outsiders in the country. Similarly to locals of Carlisle, locals in the communities of the Arabian peninsula may see outsiders and not feel connected because they are only there for a limited time causing a sort of separation. Those who are viewed as outsiders may not be seen in the same way locals, nevertheless they contribute a great deal to the communities they are in. 






One response to “Othering in Communities”

  1. kopasc Avatar

    I think your comparison of resident college students to a temporary migrant workers in the GCC states is very thoughtful and frames othering in a little bit of a different manner. You’ve brought into mind how sometimes temporary residents wish to be a part of a community, yet the community members restrict and prohibit their membership, which I think it’s concept and related questions seem very important to consider in this class, like when is division unilateral?

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