Radhika Santhanam-Martin – Othering Spaces: Uses of Alterity in Psychotherapy Training and Practice (ASI 2014)

Othering occurs in everyday human encounters and may be playful or violent, normative or transgressive. In ordinary social contexts, othering may be “invisible” yet have profound effects for identity, health and well-being. The deliberate use of othering is a feature of many forms of psychotherapy, in which people are made to feel like strangers to themselves, social marking and exclusion are made visible, and the initial alienation of the clinical encounter gives way over time to a deepening mutuality. This paper explores the Othering process using a therapeutic-philosophical lens. Building on the recognition that positive or inclusionary and negative or exclusionary practices of Othering regularly occur in therapy and training contexts, we will address the juxtaposition of the inevitability and persistence of strangeness with our need to be related to the familiar. To illustrate these issues, we use Donna Orange’s framework contrasting the hermeneutics of suspicion and hermeneutics of faith. Vignettes drawn from clinical and training settings will demonstrate how Othering processes organize and develop in a network of conversations and how they get enacted and embodied. We argue for the need to hold both these hermeneutic positions (doubt and trust), in order to ethically respond to and respect the face of the Other.

Ghayda Hassan – The Québec Charter of Values and the Future of Living Together in Québec (ASI 2014)

This two-arm mixed-method study assessed the discourse around the Quebec Charter and its impact on the future of living together in Quebec. The first study used a qualitative design to thematically and critically analyze discourses around the Charter and hate-based events/discourses targeting minorities and published in official media. Results show that positions tend to be polarised and use an ideological discourse based on overlapping of religion and gender equality with an underlying association of religion with extremism and terrorism, thus targeting mainly Muslim communities and more specifically, veiled women. The second study consisted of a web survey filled by a targeted sample of 200 university students measuring discrimination, identity, psychological wellbeing and perception of intercommunity relations. Data collection is underway and analyses will consist of multiple regression predictive models.

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