For Humanism Open to the Other


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  • Title: For Humanism Open to the Other: The Gift Below and Beyond Exchange
  • Author(s): Susan Petrilli
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: New Directions in the Humanities
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies
  • Keywords: Alienation, Communication, Difference/Indifference, Gift-giving, Hospitality, Humanism, Identity, Language, Listening, Otherness, Responsibility, Sign, Semiotics, Semioethics, Value
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 3
  • Year: 2015
  • ISSN: 2327-0055 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2327-2376 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Petrilli, Susan. 2015. "For Humanism Open to the Other: The Gift Below and Beyond Exchange." The International Journal of Critical Cultural Studies 13 (3): 43-65. doi:10.18848/2327-0055/CGP/v13i03/43681.
  • Extent: 23 pages


Reading Victoria Welby (1837–1912) and her “significs” associated with the contemporary intellectual Genevieve Vaughan and her “gift economy,” we propose to engage in a critique of the world as-it-is, a world (our own) that is oriented by identity logic and focused on the representation of difference based on the latter. “Identity” is understood here as closed and egocentric identity and difference based on identity logic thus understood is “identity-difference” (Petrilli 2013, 190–5). Closed identity leads to the construction of worlds and worldviews based on separation and dominion among identity-differences—whether characterized in terms of gender, ethnic group, ideology, or religion, etc. Identity logic thus understood subtends “the globalization of indifference” and inevitably results in the need to defend the self-interest of identities, to the point even of accepting the logic of war.