Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Said: Orientalism

I mean to ask whether there is any way of avoiding the hostility expressed by the division, say, of men into 'us' (Westerners) and 'they' (Orientals). For such divisions are generalities whose use historically and actually has been to press the importance of the distinction between some men and other men, usually towards not especially admirable ends. When one uses categories like Oriental and Western and both the starting and end points of analysis, research, public policy...the result is usually to polarize the distinction - the Oriental becomes more Oriental, the Westerner more Western - and limit the human encounter between different cultures, traditions, and societies (45-46).