So Many Ways to be an Outsider

‘Nerdism’ and ethnicity as signifiers of otherness


  • Sharon Coleclough Department of Media, Performance and Communication, School of Digital, Technologies and Arts, Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent, UK



Nerds, Loneliness, Otherness, Disability, Ethnicity, Television


The concept of the nerd and loneliness is an interesting one when we consider the idea of what ‘outsider’ status means and how it is communicated within popular culture. It is important to note that being identified as a nerd does not necessarily align with being lonely or holding outsider status as a negative quality. Indeed, within the mainstream Americanised evolution of the nerd we see the development of someone who although considered ‘strange’ or ‘odd’ and at times ‘other’ by their peers does have value and finds their place within the group, nerd becomes in these circumstances a shorthand for socially awkward rather than a true outsider. 


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A woman watches television while eating popcorn