Orientalism In Orientalism

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People commonly conceive of power as an influence from the political or economic authority that enforces subordinates to behave in certain ways. However, when Edward Said discusses Orientalism, he identifies this concept differently by focusing on the cultural and ideological aspect of power. If people continue to neglect such cultural power structure of Orientalism, and only focus on economic or political relations between the East and the West, they will fail to recognize the stereotypes that have been infused by this dominant viewpoint and distort the reality of the Orient. Therefore, this paper aims to illustrate on how the dominant Orientalist interpretation leads people to common misconception and will assist readers to have better understanding…show more content…
Discourse in this context refers to ‘system’ of using words to represent and deliver thoughts or ideas. Said illustrates in his interview that discourse is unavoidable for the readers, because it codifies the knowledge or fact under certain rules (Film). This indirect codification makes it difficult for people to recognize that they are being led in certain directions by the authority. The direct dominance of the Westerners were diluted and defused into such discourses rather than being left as a concrete knowledge. In this way, it was difficult for people to recognize the presence of the West in descriptions of the Orient. In addition, discourse limits people’s knowledge of the East within certain constraints. Since people receive knowledge that has once been filtered through discourse, they can only accumulate knowledge within the boundary set by the authority. In the case of Orientalism, the Orientalist interpretation created its own “internal consistency” rather than focusing on the “correspondence between Orientalism and Orient”, (Said 5). Such internal consistency allowed the Europeans to form “systematic discipline” on different sectors of the Orient (3). In the end, people started to regard the representations made by this discourse as facts,…show more content…
In reality, the accumulated knowledge set by Orientalism hardly embrace the wide range of diversity among the cultures of the East. Nonetheless, numerous literary works, arts, media and even scientific reports continue to portray the Orient based on the descriptions and artificial images set by the Orientalist discourse (Film). Such descriptions infuse stereotypes into people’s attitude and behaviors toward the Orientals. This is because people who do not have direct experience of the Orient tend to form their thoughts and imagination based on the indirect experiences provided by books, media, films or other secondary sources. In particular, Said mentions in his interview about the generalizations made on Oklahoma bombing incident to exemplify such stereotypes in people’s thoughts (Film). Media and journals kept stating that the incident had Middle Eastern traits (Film). People accepted these irresponsible reports without much doubt, until they found out that the terror was actually committed by an American boy (Film). These reports as well as the attitudes of the people have their origins based on the falsely produced knowledge of Middle Eastern culture, which was set by the western authorities in the past (Film). From this example, it can be seen that invisible power relations in form of discourse can be

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