On the foreigner
Arndt, S. (2015). On the foreigner. Reseach Bulletin: FEDU Projects, Publishing and Publications News. other, Hamilton, New Zealand: Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/9535
Who is ‘the foreigner’? What does it mean, to be a foreigner, and how does foreignness feel, look, or smell? A concrete definition of the foreigner would perhaps belie the very term, so I attempt here to illustrate the notion, calling forth some conceptions, within and around which each of us must continually construct an understanding of foreignness, for ourselves and for those around us. According to the Oxford Dictionary (Oxford Dictionaries, 2015), a foreigner is a person coming from another country, who does not belong to a particular place or group, a stranger, an outsider. Julia Kristeva (1991), in her book Strangers to ourselves, elaborates on these ideas, and says that the foreigner can cause “a choked up rage deep down in my throat”, and be seen as “a black angel clouding transparency” (p. 1). Following this view, the foreigner, stranger, outsider that comes from a very different place, could be seen as someone who causes an unwanted disturbance, or anxiety, in our everyday comfort and routine. While Kristeva’s conception is laden with emotion, both notions identify a foreigner as somebody unfamiliar, unpredictable. The foreigner then, is a stranger, an unknown, an Other.
Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research
© 2015 the author
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