The problem of otherness is central to debates in both the social sciences and theology. To define the other – by colour, gender, politics, nationality, or religion – is to define the self. Othering has been used through history as a justification for boundary-setting, for conflict and for oppression. Radical Otherness presents a broad overview of otherness in both sociology and theology. The book reveals how social theory can illuminate many contemporary issues in theology, whilst the examination of theological methods can shed light on problematic issues in sociology. The discussion of issues in Radical Otherness moves from the personal to the political, to the hermeneutic, to the ultimate otherness of metaphysics. At each stage, discussion of theory is grounded in concrete examples. The book offers students of ethics, theology, and sociology of religion a clear and engaged assessment of otherness, and opens up new ways for investigating a concept central to the study of both religion and society.
“The multifaceted dialogue between a sociologist and a theologian points to new avenues of thinking about our relationship and accountability toward the Other. I recommend this remarkable text enthusiastically.” – Kwok Pui-lan, Episcopal Divinity School, Cambridge, Massachusetts
“This volume represents an important advance in the analysis of otherness and difference, for the way in which it approaches a topic that demands an interdisciplinary approach.” – Christopher Craig Brittain, University of Aberdeen
Preface Introduction: Radical otherness: A socio/theological Investigation 1. Otherness, Outsiders and Larger Tents 2. The Politics of Otherness 3. The Hermeneutics of Otherness 4. Consuming Others 5. Otherness as metatheoretical/physical problem: backgrounding the foreground Conclusion