Many writers, going back to the ancient period, noted the imposing build and pale colouring of northerners. To some, however, their appealing vigour couldn’t compensate for their disgusting habits. According to Ahmad ibn Fadlan, an ambassador from Caliph al-Muqtadir in Baghdad to the Bulgars on the Volga River in 921 CE, the Rus (as the Northmen who had settled in the area were known) were physically impressive: ‘I have never seen more perfect physiques than theirs – they are like palm trees, are fair and reddish…’ But, he complained, they rarely bathed and never washed their hands, even after eating or relieving themselves. ‘They are the filthiest of all God’s creatures… Indeed, they are like asses that roam in the fields.’
Furthermore, the self is shaped by our social interactions and our physical environments. An individual's social interactions occurs when they’re in a specific society or culture. If these individuals grow up in a certain culture they’re going to conform to societal norms and pressures to follow a specific standard that their culture believes in. This is why culture is important to study and explore when searching how the self evolves and changes. To conclude, western cultures are more self-absorbed in their own lives whereas eastern cultures are less self-absorbed because they cherish the collective. The self is dynamic and complex and it will change or conform to whatever social influence it is exposed to. The main reason why the self is constantly dynamic is because it always looks for reason to not be harm. The self in any culture looks out for it’s well being and will avoid as much threat as possible. This can be explained through evolutionary psychology concept called survival of the fittest.
In light of the heated debates on globalization and multiculturalism in recent years, new, heterogeneous inter- and cross-cultural approaches to fluid, migrant, hybrid, transcultural worlds have emerged. In this respect, the question of Otherness is vital to the quests that arise as a result of their emergence: How do we approach these new intersubjective and dialogical perspectives of identity-seeking, self-definition, indeed, community cohesion in such a milieu? In a world increasingly global yet local, uniform yet diversified, how do these perspectives complicate relations to and understandings of others and Otherness? How is the relationship between dominant and peripheral cultures, self and other, reflexively re-negotiated? In the following articles we will consider a surprisingly vast array of topics: most recurrent being embodiment, representation, participation, différance, act and reflection, and also methods of approach: ranging from theoretical analysis to essay-manifesto and performance-as-research methodology. This open and loosely waved narrative, offering philosophical, socio-cultural and artistic insights, also induces a series of quests related to Performing Arts being challenged with regards to its genre, role, socio-cultural-political involvement and responsivity/responsibility.