chapter  4
21 Pages

Constructing the alien: seven theories of social exclusion

There are complex and overlapping ways of understanding the phenomenon of xenophobia among social psychologists, historians, social theorists and literary scholars who have developed a large theoretical armoury with which to bombard the problem. I cannot hope to do full justice to the rich array of possible alternatives, but want nonetheless to provide an exposition and develop a modest critique of seven broad strands of relevant and stimulating theory. I do not wish to reject any particular position, but I shall lay special emphasis on those more recent ideas that I find more innovative. The seven strands, which I deal with in turn below, comprise discussions of: (a) prejudice, (b) racism, (c) Otherness and difference, (d) boundary formation, (e) the construction of social identities, (f) the reconstruction of nationalism and (g) diasporic formations among minorities.