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What does Edward Saids analysis of orientation suggest about the relationship between power, knowledge and colonialism - Essay Example

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According to Said, Orientalism was a mechanism used by the western nations for imposing imperial dominance on their eastern counterparts…
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Download file to see previous pages Earlier Nietzsche in his writings had claimed that knowledge was subjective in nature and is always used to serve some purpose or interest, the most important one being the desire to dominate. According to Said, “no one has ever devised a method for detaching a scholar from the circumstances of his life, from the fact of his involvement (conscious or unconscious) with a class, a set of beliefs, a social position, or from the mere activity of being a member of society” (1977: 136).
Said in his analyses discussed cultural representations that act as foundation for western perceptions of the oriental (primarily the Middle East nations), and how the west typifies the east. The Orientalism discusses the underlying prejudice of the western world against oriental people, mainly the Islamic people and their traditions (Said, 2001). This tends to derive from western world’s long tradition of creating wrong images representing the Middle Eastern nations and Asia. Such perspectives, and their cultural representations, still serve the imperialist ambitions of the western nations (formerly Europe’s ruling regimes, and currently the US). At the same time, Said also attacked the Arab rulers for internalising and promoting the wrong portrayal of Islamic culture, which were framed by the anglophile Orientalists (Irwin, 2006).
In recent times, it would be not too farfetched to say that the US seems to view Arabs either as terrorists or as oil producers. Almost no details of the actual lives and culture of the Arab people permeate down to those whose duty it is to present the Islamic world to the western people. This has resulted in a number of tasteless caricatures of the Muslim world that has turned the oriental world into a vulnerable place for western nations to launch military attacks (Said, 1980). Said further contended that “it is [not] an accident, ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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