Cite this article as:

Рягузова Е. В. When You Turn Out to Be the Outsider!. Izvestiya of Saratov University. New Series. Series: Educational Acmeology. Developmental Psychology, 2017, vol. , iss. 3, pp. 221-228. DOI:


When You Turn Out to Be the Outsider!


The article outlines the results of an empirical study of the phenomenological experience of the individual who finds himself/ herself in a situation of forced otherness, i.e. a situation where the individual, subjectively perceiving other people as belonging to his/ her in-group, is himself/herself perceived by them as an outsider. The study relies on qualitative methodology, which is based on case studies and whose units of analysis are emotional, cognitive, and behavioral indicators of the personality that is experiencing otherness. To ensure reliability of the study, its diagnostic tools were supplemented with instruments of reflexive self-evaluation “I and Another” and the WAM (well-being, activity, mood) questionnaire. The study revealed that the situation of forced otherness, being the result of the individual’s interaction with the group, is experienced by a person as psychological stress, whose depth and intensity depends on the context of the person’s life, the duration of that interaction, joint activity and the mode of that interaction. It was established that the individual’s cognitive activity, regardless of the broader social context or the context of a specific situation, is aimed at searching for and locating differences between himself/herself and the other agents of interaction, thus enforcing nonconstructive behavioral tactics and interaction strategies, which were originally imposed on the individual by the Others. It is observed that the situation of otherness frustrates the individual’s behavior, while at the group level discrimination provokes aggressive behavior, and at the personal level it causes alienation or subordinate behavior. The study established that a shortterm experience of otherness leads to exacerbated internal reflexive processes in the individual and his/her more active self-awareness, while when this experience of otherness, acquired over the course of long-term joint activity, is successfully overcome, it promotes increased self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-determination of the individual, and leads to the individual restructuring his/her opinions and developing meaningful behavioral strategies.


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