The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley brings together diverse stakeholders to identify and challenge the barriers to an inclusive, just, and sustainable society in order to create transformative change.
The Institute is a vibrant hub of researchers, community leaders, policymakers, artists, and communicators that advances research, policy, and work related to marginalized communities. We engage in innovative narrative, communications, and cultural strategies that attempt to re-frame the public discourse around marginality and inclusion and respond to issues that require immediate and long-term action. Our work is informed by understanding how structures and systems work to create or exacerbate othering and exclusion.
The work of the Institute is centered on care for the earth and the belief in the foundational belonging of all people. Belonging means more than having access, it means having a meaningful voice, and being afforded the opportunity to participate in the design of political, social, and cultural structures. Belonging means being respected at a basic level that includes the right to both contribute and make demands upon society and political institutions.
Our Main Goals
Advancing multidisciplinary research, analysis, policy, and strategic narrative
Our research examines the structural and cultural impediments to belonging and the othering processes that block the benefits derived from an equitable society. We address complex and intertwined issues holistically, cultivating research contributions and collaboration across fields. Rather than issue-driven, our work focuses on the impact to people in order to expose the way othering creates marginality and deprives people of full belonging.
Building relationships among diverse groups and across disciplines
We align our research efforts with the needs of community organizers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Community-centered collaborations help inform our research while our scholarship helps community partners and policymakers with strategies and policy, which increase our mutual effectiveness at many levels. This type of relationship building moves beyond just coalitions toward deeper synergy, and is strengthened by time and interaction that ultimately yields a greater capacity to effect change.
Employing strategic communications to illuminate research and impact policy
To be most successful, we must engage the conscious mind and the unconscious mind, which is less empirical, less fact-driven, highly social, and more animated by stories, values, and metaphors. Our communications and cultural strategy work goes beyond mere messaging to engage in a battle of big ideas, to take command of how a debate, such as the entire concept of public space or citizenship or free speech, is framed in public discourse, in order to construct and employ new narratives that speak to people at multiple levels.
Making a difference
Above all, we seek to make a difference. Our ultimate goal is to reduce inequality and advance policy and interventions that can bring about true belonging.