On the link between economy of fear, Bin Laden in the Suburbs know thy neighbor enemy [impossibility] and movement of the sranger from a liminal good to necessarily [but not necessary] feared/evil.
The stranger has never been incontrovertibly good, however, there is a history of strangers and lack of knowledge of who people are (connections, wealth, power) that encouraged people to not dismiss strangers as evil or useless. There was a benefit in confronting the unknown and the strange. The benefit was similar to the exploration of science, discovery, adventure: stress and fear as beneficial for some human soul or idea of progress.
In contrast, the current era, from cities to the war on terror (eg: fear) links the unknown and the strange with negative results. The stranger (and fear, the strange, the unknown) is separated from the possibility of benefit and must be fought against, but not through revealing of knowledge (enlightenment progress against the unknown), but determining of overlaying one’s own identity, one’s own truth on top of the strange.
The other is no longer a dialectic, but a task project [word].
One thought on “on the stranger”
Read Stanley Milgram on the “Familiar Stranger”