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The discursive act of constructing a person or group as being “the other”, as in “not the same as one of us”. Thus pushing them away, branding them as being something different that do not belong. This act includes constructing people as “being” a race or other category, an act sometimes called making someone “racified”. The relevant part here is not that someone can be said to belong to a certain group, for example a race or ethnicity. The relevant part is that this categorization is used to push the person(s) away, branding them as being something different that do not belong. (In Swedish: andrefiering, rasifiering)


This facet of categorism is an expression of: prejudice, bigotry and discrimination.

It is likely to intersect with facets such as:

  • Categorist slurs: The people we use as a bad word are obviously not "us", but something else.
  • Demonization: If he is so evil, he's certainly not one of us!
  • Dehumanization: If it isn't even human, it's certainly not one of us!
  • Conspirationalism: Constructing a person or group as "the other" by constructing their actions as being some kind of conspiracy. When "we" do it, it's just everyday actions - but when "they" do it, it's something sinister and ominous.

As well as with abstractions such as:

Examples of applying this facet to a particular foci of categorism can include:

  • Antimuslimism: Upholding a dichotomy between "Western" and "Muslim", as if a person of Muslim background would be unable to be a "real" European or American.

Othering in example texts

  • Adam's homophobia: On an individual level from Adam, on a group level from the coworkers who let it happen, and also on a systemic level if they live in a society where this is common and commonly accepted. When Adam accuse Cedric of being gay and Cedric defend himself by insisting that he's only attracted to women, Adam is doing it on an individual level while they are both contributing to it on a group level.
  • A frivolous arrest: By arresting her, the cops publicly construct the woman (and any category she may be associated with) as something different than us normal law-abiding people.
  • Mr Garrison's Homophobia: The teacher bases his rant on the premise that he and his audience are all straight, that gay people are "them", that their hearts are not like "yours and mine".