Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Phenomenologies of the StrangerBetween Hostility and Hospitality$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780823234615

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823234615.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM FORDHAM SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.fordham.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Fordham University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in FSO for personal use.date: 28 March 2020

Neither Close Nor Strange

Neither Close Nor Strange

Levinas, Hospitality, and Genocide

(p.242) 14 Neither Close Nor Strange
Phenomenologies of the Stranger



Fordham University Press

Can we apply Emmanuel Levinas's account of the Other to concrete situations? Though one might first associate Levinas's thought with the European genocide of the early twentieth century, this chapter looks at the Rwandan carnage of 1994. The horror of this massacre lies in part in that it was committed, quite literally, “face to face” between friends and family. These events force us to ask: how is it that neighbors and acquaintances could become the main perpetrators of mass murder? A phenomenology of the Stranger and the subject's hospitable or hostile response to one's own neighbor is shown to be a pressing ethico-political project. This chapter argues that Levinas's phenomenological descriptions of hospitality and the face of the stranger enable us to have a fuller appreciation of what is at stake in genocide. More specifically, it claims that the possibility of genocide lies in the refusal to acknowledge the Other either as a neighbor (close to us) or as a stranger (a guest).

Keywords:   Emmanuel Levinas, hospitality, genocide, Rwanda, Other, neighbor, phenomenology, Stranger

Fordham Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .