Orientalism is the negative inversion of Western culture. The concept of the Orient, he wrote, gave colonizers power and legitimacy. It’s also a battleground. Yet, it’s humanistic as well. In this article, I’ll explore the issues surrounding Orientalism and the way it affects Western society today.
Orientalism is a negative inversion of Western culture
Orientalism is a concept that is detrimental to Western culture. Its roots lie in the nineteenth century and is often referred to as the “Orientalist tradition.” The idea was that knowledge of the Orient was necessary for effective colonial conquest. This concept, however, was exposed by Palestinian scholar Edward Said. The Orient is not the “other”; it is a construction.
Orientalism, or “Orientalist culture”, is a concept that attempts to define and compare Western culture with Oriental culture. The Orient is always portrayed as inferior to Western culture. Western cultures are seen as more advanced and superior, and the Orient is viewed as backward and eccentric.
According to Foucault, Orientalism is a system of discourses. By analyzing the Orient as a discourse, one can understand how European culture managed the Orient politically, militarily, sociologically, and scientifically.
It legitimizes Western white supremacy
Orientalism is the belief that Asia is inferior to Western civilization. While Asian civilizations are not inferior to Western civilization, they are not as civilized. As a result, Orientalism legitimizes white supremacy by defining Asians as inferior. As such, they are dehumanized.
Orientalism is a form of racism, and it justifies overt hatred and abuse towards Asian people in the West. Racism, however, does not only refer to casual instances of race-based “mockery.” It also refers to institutions that maintain racial oppression, and therefore, the white privilege that is associated with them.
White supremacy is a political, economic, and cultural power structure. It was developed as a rationalization for European colonialism and imperialism. While it may not be true for all of these groups, it is common knowledge that the U.S. government, corporations, and workplaces perpetuate structural racism.
It’s a battleground
The concept of Orientalism has been the subject of much postcolonial research and literature. It is the most authoritative scholarship in this field, and it aims to explore the many preconceived ideas and subjective constructs surrounding the Orient. But what exactly is Orientalism? Orientalism is a complicated phenomenon.
For one thing, Orientalism is a battleground. Neoconservatives see postcolonial studies research as a threat to their ideology. Yet, the term “Orientalism” is more than a battleground. It is an intellectual and professional issue that crosses all kinds of lines.
Orientalism also includes imperialism, a discourse which represents the powerful and the powerless. For example, Henry Kissenger asserted that the Middle East never experienced the Enlightenment, while Bernard Lewis argued that Muslim nations refused to participate in Modernism. This has resulted in a representation of the “Orient” as a barbaric Other.
While Lewis’s essay is the most widely read critique of Said’s work, he fails to address the core of Said’s research agenda. In other words, Lewis accuses Said of blaming Europeans for Orientalism, but fails to address the issues at hand.
Said’s essay “Orientalism” is an important contribution to the field of humanistic literature. His essay addresses the cultural, political, and intellectual effects of representation. It also considers narratives of liberation, and the demands of oppressed peoples for recognition. In a posthumous collection of lectures, Said juxtaposes his political activism with various cultural practices.
Said argues that Orientalism is a “system of knowledge and power” that actively enabled colonization and legitimized colonialism. While Said does acknowledge that the Orient is humanistic and has a history of colonialism, he also acknowledges that the concept of Orientalism is a product of western hegemony.
While Orientalism has its share of critics, it has a place in the long journey to human freedom. As an important critical theoretical framework, it helps social workers to make sense of the cultural and political aspects of their work. Moreover, it provides a basis for counternarratives.