Neo-Orientalism

Professor Asef Bayat

by Asef Bayat

ISA The Futures We Want: Global Sociology and the Struggles for a Better World

Anecdotal stereotyping of ‘other’ peoples and cultures is neither new nor of course limited to the West. But things become more serious when stereotypical imaginations get articulated by systematic, ‘scientific’, and authoritative apparatuses of knowledge production. Orientalism, articulated by Edward Said, famously represents such a mode of knowledge production, as it opts to construct a totalizing image of the other as an object of prejudice and neglects differentiation within, and overlaps or exchange between the ‘Orient’ and the Occident. Here, I want to suggest that current globalization has added new dimensions to the Orientalist imagination, distinguishing it from its 19th and 20th Century articulation. Today’s ‘neo-Orientalism’ seems to be more entrenched, multi-faceted, and harmful than its predecessor; it has fed into what is currently called ‘Islamophobia’

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