Call for Paper: The Rhetoric of Otherness

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Call for Papers and Scientific Conference

Call for Paper: The Rhetoric of Otherness

Rhetoric and Communications Journal: Special Issue 50 January 2022

The Institute of Rhetoric and Communications – Publisher of Rhetoric and Communications Journal
The Editorial Board of Rhetoric and Communications
The Editorial Board of In Other Words – Online Dictionary

Throughout history, there has been a tension between ‘I’/’You’ ‘us’/’them’, in various levels across societies in terms of ethnicities, social classes, genders, religions, and migrations. The trend to include some people because of their similarities and to exclude others because of their differences has become much more complex nowadays. Therefore, the process of (re)production and stigmatization of Otherness as a discourse of exclusion and discrimination (e.g., Reisigl & Wodak, 2001; Wodak, 2015) emerges as a result of tensions between the sameness and the otherness that are essentially about relationalities and positionalities that are temporal and context-dependent (Praxmarer, 2016).

While several intersectional factors concur to the construction of Otherness, at its core resides the fundamental question of who has the power to define the Other as such, from which position, for which purposes, and under which socio-cultural and historical conditions. Indeed, the construct of Otherness reveals asymmetric relations of power between individuals and groups, a condition that has been defined as ‘Othering’ – a word originally coined in 1985 by Gayatri Spivak, who grounded the construct on previous philosophical theorizations (Hegel, Derrida, Foucault) and on her post-colonial studies – that is “the process by which the empire can define itself against those it colonizes, excludes and marginalizes” (as quoted in Ashcroft, Griffiths & Tiffin, 2013, p.171).

Throughout the decades, the term has come to mean all forms of prejudices and discriminations enacted by individuals or groups in hegemonic positions against other individuals or groups. With this in mind, we understand Otherness as “the result of a discursive process by which a dominant in-group (“Us”, the Self) constructs one or many dominated out-groups (“Them”, Other) by stigmatizing a difference – real or imagined – presented as a negation of identity and thus a motive for potential discrimination” (Staszak, 2009, p. 2).

While artistic representations such as literature, painting, and performance can subvert the construction of power dynamics between Sameness/Otherness, the discourse of mainstream sources such as journalistic media and government communications often reinforce and polarize such division. Yet, digital, social media and internet visual tools (e.g., meme, GIF) involve a dynamic, interactionist, real-time dialogue that delineates the (re)production of Sameness/Otherness by oscillating between criticism and conformism. Therefore, artistic, mainstream, and digital expressions and discourses are on a continuum of the articulation/disarticulation, construction/deconstruction of Otherness seen as a result of a combination of multimodal rhetorical and discursive strategies, perpetuating old forms and creating new forms of Otherness throughout society.

The present Call for Paper invites authors to submit contributions that can illustrate different genres, media channels, and platforms dealing with issues of Otherness/Othering and of its language in use.

Indeed, we understand the process of Othering and the emergence of Otherness as a measure of society’s treatment towards individuals and out-groups in terms of dignity, human rights, justice, and welfare. Therefore, it has become a fundamental social issue that cannot be ignored mostly nowadays when we are witnessing new forms of Otherness emerging from new media and creating a great divide in the world.

Thus, this CFP for the Special Edition invites authors to explore old and new forms of Otherness and Othering in various texts such as literary, journalistic, political speeches, new media, social media, visual texts, and films, by focusing on the role of linguistic, rhetoric, and discourse strategies (e.g. argumentation, figure of speech, discourse elements, visual composition, etc.) in the representation, construction or deconstruction of us/them, sameness/difference in order to disclose, denounce, criticise, or unpack emotions, thoughts, behaviours that lead to discrimination, prejudice, stereotypes, stigma, and exclusion among others. We welcome contributions that are either original research (qualitative/quantitative methods), systematic review, or theoretical articles.

The Special Edition looks forward to collaborations in the field of argumentative theory, critical/discourse analysis, rhetoric studies, critical sociolinguistics, rhetoric of manipulation, discourse-historical approach, political rhetoric, critical pedagogy, disability studies, communication studies, and others alike.


–  We invite unpublished manuscripts that range from 3500 to 5000 words (from 10 to 15 pages), Times New Roman, font 12, double space, MS Word document.

–  Please submit final work to:,

–  Deadline: November 15th, 2021

–  For further submission guidelines, please visit websites of Rhetoric and Communications:,

Potential authors are encouraged to contact Dr. Andrea Valente ( and Dr Paola Giorgis ( for their proposed study beforehand or for any questions regarding the Special Issue.


Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., Tiffin, H. (2013). Post-Colonial Studies: The Key Concepts. London: Routledge.

Maillat, D., Oswald, S. (2009). Defining Manipulative Discourse: The Pragmatics of Cognitive Illusions. International Review of Pragmatics. I, 2009: 1-23.

Morrison, T. 2017.The Origins of Others. With a Foreword by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press.

Müller, K., Schwarz, C. 2018. Fanning the Flames of Hate: Social Media and Hate Crime. November 30, 2018. Available at: SSRN: or

Praxmarer, P. 2016. Otherness and the Other(s). Key Concepts in Intercultural Dialogue, No. 39.

Mavrodieva, I. (2014). The concept of the Bulgarian ‘European Identity’ across The Bulgarian Language and Political Rhetoric in Bulgaria, US-China Foreign Language, Vol. 12, No. 1, 1-16.

Reisigl, M. and Wodak, R. (2001). Discourse and discrimination: Rhetorics of racism and antisemitism. London: Routledge.

Spivak, G. C. (1985). The Rani of Sirmur: An essay in reading the archives. History and theory, 24(3), 247-272.

Staszak, J. (2009). Other/Otherness. In Kitchin & Thrift (Ed.), International encyclopedia of human geography: A 12-volume set (1st ed., pp. -). Oxford: Elsevier Science. Retrieved on 24.06.2021.

Wodak, R. (2015). The politics of fear: What right-wing discourses mean. London: Sage.

The text was submitted: 30.06.2021.

Accepted: 02.07.2021.

Брой 48 на сп. „Реторика и комуникации“, юли 2021 г. се издава с финансовата помощ на Фонд научни изследвания, договор No КП-06-НП2/41 от 07 декември 2020 г.

Issue 48 of the Rhetoric and Communications Journal (July 2021) is published with the financial support of the Scientific Research Fund, Contract No. KP-06-NP2/41 of December 7, 2020.