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Recognition and the Other
Unformatted Document Text:  Recognition and the Other, p. 15 Levinas, drawing on Judaism, offers a third option: (3) worship the other, that is, worship what is unutterably alien and ultimately unknown. 6 Is this doable within our language and worldview? Do any models exist? Recent models of conflict transformation that embrace alterity, chaos, and emotions (such as Worldwork and the Public Conversations Project) suggest a possibility. For example, responding to the anti-abortion related murders of two women in 1995, three prochoice and three prolife leaders in Boston participated in a confidential dialogue from 1995 till 2000. The dialogue was predicated not on sameness, but on radical alterity and asymmetry: "Our talks would not aim for common ground or compromise. Instead, the goals of our conversations would be to communicate openly with our opponents, away from the polarizing spotlight of media coverage; to build relationships of mutual respect and understanding; to help deescalate the rhetoric of the abortion controversy; and, of course, to reduce the risk of future shootings (Fowler et al., 2001) It’s not yet clear what impact these conversations can or will have on abortion politics in Boston, but the fact that these talks were private and intentionally out of the media spotlight is not insignificant. It supports the critique that the ethical model of the face-to-face cannot easily be sustained in the presence of "the third party" which is often required for justice. But the very fact that that this conversation between vehemently opposed immoral "others" was sustained for over five years suggests new possibilities for recognition, radical alterity, and discourse ethics. 6 One can't help but wonder: how far do we go with this? Does the Jew worship the radical alterity of the Nazi who would annhilate her? Does the queer worship the alterity of the homophobe who would annhilate him?

Authors: Lipari, Lisbeth.
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Recognition and the Other, p. 15
Levinas, drawing on Judaism, offers a third option: (3) worship the other, that is, worship what is
unutterably alien and ultimately unknown.
6
Is this doable within our language and worldview?
Do any models exist? Recent models of conflict transformation that embrace alterity, chaos, and
emotions (such as Worldwork and the Public Conversations Project) suggest a possibility. For
example, responding to the anti-abortion related murders of two women in 1995, three prochoice
and three prolife leaders in Boston participated in a confidential dialogue from 1995 till 2000.
The dialogue was predicated not on sameness, but on radical alterity and asymmetry:
"Our talks would not aim for common ground or compromise. Instead, the goals of our
conversations would be to communicate openly with our opponents, away from the
polarizing spotlight of media coverage; to build relationships of mutual respect and
understanding; to help deescalate the rhetoric of the abortion controversy; and, of course, to
reduce the risk of future shootings (Fowler et al., 2001)
It’s not yet clear what impact these conversations can or will have on abortion politics in
Boston, but the fact that these talks were private and intentionally out of the media spotlight is
not insignificant. It supports the critique that the ethical model of the face-to-face cannot easily
be sustained in the presence of "the third party" which is often required for justice. But the very
fact that that this conversation between vehemently opposed immoral "others" was sustained for
over five years suggests new possibilities for recognition, radical alterity, and discourse ethics.
6
One can't help but wonder: how far do we go with this? Does the Jew worship the radical alterity of the
Nazi who would annhilate her? Does the queer worship the alterity of the homophobe who would
annhilate him?


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