Editors’ Words Rhetoric and Communications Journal, Issue 50, January 2022

Rhetoric of Otherness

Andrea Valente

York University, Canada

E-mail: valentac@yorku.ca

Paola Giorgis

Independent Scholar and Teacher of English, Literature and Visual Arts, Italy

E-mail: paola.giorgis@womaned.org

Nikolina Tsvetkova

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Bulgaria

E-mail: ntsvetkova@phls.uni-sofia.bg

In this special Issue n. 50, the Journal of Rhetoric and Communications has the pleasure to share with its readership the theme on Rhetoric of Otherness, in which eleven contributions tackle the topic in instigating, creative, and critical outlooks from various methodological approaches and different countries – Italy, Canada, South Korea, Bulgaria, Rumania, Moldova.

The international dimension of the contributions enriches Issue 50 with traditional and innovative empirical investigations and discourse analyses, ranging from personal narratives in literary texts to online discussion forums in order to understand how the notion of Otherness has been constructed and deconstructed across different historical contexts, media, and languages. The contributions question the notion of Otherness in various domains, from autobiographical accounts to political discourses and communication. The articles situate the Other in different degrees of relationality with what is dominant, mainstream, or expected. Moreover, they analyse how the notion of Otherness is closely linked to language in use, categories, labels, and multimodalities. Last, the contributions reflect a diversity of scholars, coming from multiple disciplines in the field of the humanities and social sciences.

The Issue opens with two different reflections on Otherness, and its relationship with discourses, labels and stereotypes. Combining theoretical frameworks and examples of activities, Paola Giorgis discusses how the construction of Otherness can be challenged by subverting the same mechanisms that contribute to (re)produce it. Andrea C. Valente’s contribution addresses critically how the fluctuations in the disability identity (i.e., Asperger’s disorder) have become a matter of rhetoric of naming and of a repositioning of Otherness as a result of complex relations and contexts that involve clinical medicine and history.

The second rubric of the Issue analyses Otherness from the perspective of the media and the social environment. Analysing ten years of videoblogging of three Italian bloggers in the US, Diana Vargolomova sustains that multimodal online narratives are used as a rite of passage from a condition of subjective perception of Otherness to a situation of becoming a less other or even a non-other. In her contribution, Eli Alexandrova discusses the theme of Otherness in the Bulgarian social and cultural context through an analysis of the role of Bulgarian mothers as parents and participants in virtual groups, arguing that Otherness manifests itself at the verbal and visual level.

The next rubric is dedicated to the critical discussion of how Otherness is represented in literature and communication. This section is opened by Gabriela Mocan who, presenting some of the most prominent UK-based writers and artists today, sustains the ethical and political relevance of literature and the arts to challenge the rhetoric of Otherness. Lyudmila Atanasova compares two seminal works of the literary canons in Bulgaria and Korea to discuss critically the complex constructs of Otherness and how the discursive mechanisms lead a society “to adopt the West” as a perceived sole way of development. From the perspective of feminist theory, philosophy and critical studies, Radeya Gesheva presents different points of view about the boundaries of the ‘body’ construct, discussing how the body is a means of exercising control over situations, thus raising questions about Otherness, identity, belonging and freedom.

The next section of the Issue is dedicated to the analysis of Otherness from the point of view of communication, politics and psychology. The first contribution is by Tatiana Burudzhieva who analyses how the Other is constructed in political discourse in order to explain both political radicalisation and political aggression, as well as the lack of strong leadership and strategic political projects in the contemporary world. The second contribution is by Antonina Kardasheva who investigates the relationships between Otherness and marginality, Otherness and identity, Otherness and belonging from a psychological perspective; however, by placing an emphasis on Otherness as a problem in social systems, she suggests that Otherness should be studied through an interdisciplinary approach.

The last session is dedicated to Doctoral debuts. By discussing language policies in Moldova, Ekaterina Stanova analyses how the use of different graphical systems for the same language in different regions in Moldova shows that the representational function of official languages and the specificities of languages used in education and informal communication are manifestations of Otherness. The last contribution is by Irina Garkova who explores the theme of Otherness in the Bulgarian media and context, sustaining that heterogeneity at the linguistic level creates grounds to speak of a political and media rhetoric of otherness.

The contributors are presented is the next rubric.

Traditionally, an updated list of reviewers is published in the journal each year.

Paola Giorgis and Andrea C. Valente

Italy; Canada – January 12th, 2022

Брой 50 на сп. „Реторика и комуникации“, януари 2022 г. се издава с финансовата помощ на Фонд научни изследвания, договор № КП-06-НП3/75 от 18 декември 2021 г.

Issue 50 of the Rhetoric and Communications Journal (January 2022) is published with the financial support of the Scientific Research Fund, Contract No. KP-06-NP3/75 of December 18, 2021.

Издателско каре

Брой 50, януари 2022 година

Сп. „Реторика и комуникации“ / Rhetoric and Communications Journal

Главен редактор: проф. дн Иванка Мавродиева

Издател: Институт по реторика и комуникации

ISSN 1314-4464

Сайт на български език: http://rhetoric.bg/

Сайт на английски език: http://journal.rhetoric.bg/

Имейли: editors@rhetoric.bg , info@rhetoric.bg, journal.rhetoric.bg@gmail.com

Коректор и редактор на български език: Надя Калъчева

Коректор и редактор на английски език: Дара Цветкова

Предпечат: Пламен Иванов

Publishing information

Issue 50, January 2022

Rhetoric and Communications Journal

Editor-in-Chief: Prof. Ivanka Mavrodieva

Publisher: Institute of Rhetoric and Communications

ISSN 1314-4464

Website in Bulgarian: https://rhetoric.bg/

Website in English: http://journal.rhetoric.bg/

Emails: editors@rhetoric.bg, info@rhetoric.bg, journal.rhetoric.bg@gmail.com

Proofreader and Editor in Bulgarian: Nadia Kalacheva

Proofreader and Editor in English: Dara Tsvetkova

Prepress: Plamen Ivanov