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Edward Said, Orientalism New York: Vintage Books, Introduction Said starts by asserting the fact that the Orient played an instrumental role in the construction of the European culture as the powerful Other: In the Foucaultian tradition, Said suggests to look at Orientalism as a discourse: What is more important, Orientalism is not simply the work of European imagination—it is all about power, domination, hegemony and authority.
In this way, Orientalism is a phenomenon of the same rank as the idea of Europe. Said then ask how relevant it is on his side to consider as one phenomenon what was supposed to be, actually, two: He then goes into a lengthy explanation of why he considers this to be relevant.
No one has ever devised a method for detaching the scholar from the circumstances of life, from the fact of his involvement generalization or specialization essay writer or unconscious with a class, a set of beliefs, a social position, or from the mere activity of being a member of a society.
The link between ideology and writing is not simplistic at all, but still it is unavoidable. He describes this link in the following way: Orientalism is not a mere political subject matter or field that is reflected passively by culture, scholarship, or institutions; nor is it a large and diffuse collection of texts about the Orient; nor is it representative and expressive of some nefarious "Western" imperialist plot to hold down the "Oriental" world.
Said then discusses his methodology.
There is nothing mysterious or natural about authority. It is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive; it has status, it established canon of taste and value; it is virtually indistinguishable from certain ideas it dignifies as true, and from traditions, perceptions, and judgements it forms, transmits, reproduces.
Above all, authority can, indeed must, be analyzed. Every writer on the Orient and this is true even of Homer assumes some Oriental precedent.
Additionally, each work on the Orient affiliates itself with other works, with audiences, with institutions, with the Orient itself. The ensemble of relationships between works, audiences, and some particular aspects of the Orient therefore constitutes an analyzable formation… 20 Any text about the Orient is always exterior to the object it describes i.
The Scope of Orientalism 1. British knowledge of Egypt is Egypt for Balfour, and the burdens of knowledge make such questions as inferiority and superiority seem petty ones.
Balfour nowhere denies British superiority and Egyptian inferiority; he takes them for granted as he describes the consequences of knowledge. This mode of seeing the Orient turned into the dominant political vision: The most important thing about the theory during the first decade of the twentieth century was that it worked, and worked staggeringly well.
The argument, when reduced to its simplest form, was dear, it was precise, it was easy to grasp. There are Westerners, and there are Orientals. The former dominate; the latter must be dominated, which usually means having their land occupied, their internal affairs rigidly controlled, their blood and treasure put at the disposal of one or another Western power.
Many resources were invented in this vision of Oriental people, as it justified and legitimized domination: The Orient was viewed as if framed by the classroom, the criminal court, the prison, the illustrated manual.
In a way, they cooperated to secure cultural domination over these lands: What they shared, however, was not only land or profit or rule; it was the kind of intellectual power I have been calling Orientalism. In a sense Orientalism was a library or archive of information, commonly and, in some of its aspects, unanimously held.
The link between them and the Orientalism as the phenomenon for which they all worked was double-folded: That it was not a transformation of liberation, but the one of intensification and improvement, is proven, according to Said, by contemporary s speeches of American politicians who reproduce in their writing the same Oriental myth of the nineteenth century.
These myths are represented to us as truth, and Said asks how this situation could emerge. The answer goes in the following sections.Memoire et la mer explication essay essaydom student area outcomes ap world history dbq essay meaning essays de trouver un literary analysis essay of the raven nervous conditions babamukuru essays whose fault was the english civil war essay introduction foreshadowing in macbeth act 1 essay a protein subunit from an enzyme is part of a.
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