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This other and other others.

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  • Sara Ahmed
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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2002
<mark>Journal</mark>Economy and Society
Issue number4
Volume31
Number of pages15
Pages (from-to)558-572
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

This paper offers an alternative understanding of the relationship between feminist ethics, time and otherness. Rather than suggesting a feminist ethics should simply be for 'the other', or that feminist ethics is always futural (dedicated to that which is not yet), the paper suggests that ethics involves responding to the particular other in a present that carries traces of the past, as well as opening up the future. It is through responding to particular others (where particularity is not understood as a characteristic of another, but as a mode of encounter) that we face and face up to 'other others'. The relationship between 'this other' and 'other others' suggests an intimacy between the particular and the collective, between the face-to-face of an encounter and political economies, and between feminist ethics and politics. Indeed, the paper concludes by suggesting that the ethical and political imperatives of feminism are aligned precisely given that collectivity is an effect of the work that has to be done to get closer to this other and, with her, other others. This other and other others collect together in the making of a feminist 'we'. Such a 'we' can be embraced only through a willingness to struggle with and for others who are faced in the present (a facing that is indebted to a past that cannot be left behind), and an openness to the future, as the promise and hope of what we might yet become.