Thursday, July 8, 2021

Orientalism / Edward Said - overview

Edward Said 's book Orientalism " is intended to answer the question "How does Europe imagine the East?" It was written in 1978 that Europe built its power by denying the East .

To Said Orientalist is anyone who studies or explores the East. There is a distinction between values ​​- East - Orient, West - Occident. A discourse of language, meanings and images is created for anyone who discusses the subject of Orientalism. Said believes that the Orient is the creation of man and is not a fact of nature, knowledge is not pure in his opinion but political.

Said criticized the West's approach to the East. According to him, a long tradition of false and romantic images of Asia and the Middle East in Western culture served as a justification for the colonial aspirations of the United States and Europe .

In Orientalism, Said claims that the West is infected with racism and prejudice towards the East and that it is driven by imperialist aspirations And from a Eurocentric perspective. Western interpretation, based on these perceptions, contributes to the fixation of the East as inferior, primitive and passive in Western collective consciousness, and as a result the East is perceived as militarily weak and subject to the influence of the West. Said called this interpretation "Orientalism" and argued that it is reflected in every interaction of the Western world with the East, for example in research, literature and art. From his main arguments it appears that in his opinion Orientalism is a consciousness of the West without the understanding that when we "think" of the East we have no objective ability, but a great charge of Western interpretation. The West rules the East, with the power of the West to help and treat it through European glasses. The West makes the East passive. The Orientalists explore the East in a fundamental way - on the basis of one factor and that is Islam. The West does not perceive that Islam is dynamic but sees it as frozen and unchangeable. The West stood the East as its opposite by discourse and power, the West's control over knowledge divided the world into these categories, West and East. Said's book garnered him worldwide publicity, putting him at the center of international controversy on the subject.

Following the book, the term "Orientalist" was coined in Western languages ​​as well, similar to its popular meaning in Arabic (in Arabic مستشرق transliteration: whistling, literal translation: "oriental"). The "Orientalist" is like a tourist looking for the exotic and interesting, but blind to the reality around him. All he knows about the East is pieces of information, of European origin, organized according to his latent desires. The term has become a derogatory word to describe a Western man whose motives are the enslavement and control of the East. For example, Western history and research, written by Orientalists, are invalid because they came to establish the authority of the West over the East. In 1980 , Said wrote: "Very little of the details, the human density, the passion for Muslim Arab life has even reached the minds of those whose job it is to survey the Arab world. Instead we have a series of crude cartoons of the Islamic world presented in a way that shows this world vulnerable to military aggression.

Here is a detailed summary by chapter of Said's Orientalism: