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Orientalism. (Anglais) Broché – 12 octobre 1979

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Format: Broché
even if you're not interested in social sciences, this is a great book to read, and easy to read ( which is not always the case with social sciences ). Pusblished years ago, it's still necessary, and helps understand a lot of things that are happening around us, in any fields.
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Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Tres bon livre d Edward said le result at de sa these Sur l orientalisme. Je le recommande vivement surtout en anglais.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9b289618) étoiles sur 5 149 commentaires
361 internautes sur 419 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9b5b82d0) étoiles sur 5 Anti Essentialism & Controversial 27 octobre 2001
Par AA - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
This book and Edward Said in general seem capable of generating such intense controversy. Many reviewers of this book seem to forget actually to review the work and focus on attacking Edward Said as a person, many others still forget to review the book and proceed to speak for Palestinian rights and the negative western attitudes of Islam. I will attempt to present an actual review of this book based on MY own reading of it.
In Orientalism, Said sets about dismantling the study of the "orient" in general with primary focus on the Islamic Near East. Said argues that concepts such as the Orient, Islam, the Arabs, etc. are too vast to be grouped together and presented as one coherent whole, encompassing all there is to know about the subject. Said bases his view on the shear width and breadth of the subject, the inherent bias of conflicting cultures and more recently the role of the Orientalism in colonialism. It is indeed difficult to attempt to represent a book that is so focused on anti essentialism.
Said's research of western / occidental discourse was very thorough indeed and he does illustrate through repeated examples how misinformation sufficiently repeated can become accepted academic work. Said also presents an analysis of the causes and motives and theorizes about his findings. A lengthy and a times tedious discussion of the origins of Orientalism is rather repetitive and hard to follow for a non specialist like me.
Edward Said however seem to have fallen in the same trap he attributes to Orientalism, he has not attempted to explore Arab writings of the periods he discussed nor has he attempted to present (possibly even read) work by Egyptian and Arab historians of the periods he was addressing save for work carried out in the west and within western universities. In doing so, Said fails to see how the modern and contemporary "orient" sees itself through primarily "oriental" eyes such as Ibn Khaldoun, Al Maqrizi and also through the writings of orientalists like Lane. Said also fails to address the work carried out by orientalists based on many manuscripts of Orientals.
I particularly enjoyed Said's analysis of the strong ties that Orientalism has with power and colonialism. Said analysis of the diverging development of the British and French practice based on the latter's limited success as a colonial power was very enjoyable and very well thought out. The Orientalism Today and indeed the Afterwards section are also very informative and as these were more familiar areas for Said his presentation of ideas and thoughts came across more clearly and the writing was far less tedious than the earlier parts of the book.
Orientalism is not an easy read, it will challenge many established views, indeed it has already with a fair degree of success led to changes in the way the Near East is studied. To me, most of all I see this as a book that offers in part a largely coherent explanation for the on-going misunderstanding between the West and the Near East and in Islam. And while Occidentalism does not exist as a field of study in a place like Egypt per se, Said fails to see that the west is viewed largely in terms of its wealth, promiscuous habits, hypocrisy and anti Islam and thus fails to see it as 2 way street, albeit with unequal power.
This is by no means a the definitive correction of the history of the Middle East or Near Orient, it is however a very legitimate and serious study of a field of study that no doubt has a lot to answer for!
60 internautes sur 69 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9c083ef4) étoiles sur 5 Seminal but Flawed Work on Colonialism 17 juin 2000
Par Stephen Graham - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
When it was written, Orientalism administered a much-needed correction to the study of the Arab and Asian worlds. Any historian, social scientist or humanist working in related fields should own a copy.
The strength of Edward Said's Orientalism is its highlighting of the underlying assumptions of dominance and subjection in Orientalist scholarship. Said correctly points out that the British, French and United States have relied on the reduction of the Orient to an academic study backed by a mythical image of its inhabitants and cultures as more primitive, passionate, mystical and illogical. Complementing this has been a presumption of Western superiority that allows diagnosis of social ills and prescription of Western remedies for these ills.
Said also pointed out a secondary weakness in the Orientalist approach to its studies. If Westerners presume the Orient to be more passionate and mystical, they may assume that it provides absolute alternatives to the ills of Western culture and modernism. Thus the span of Western history scrutinized by Said has seen individuals and groups embracing ill-understood religions and cultural precepts. The anti-majoritan/left-leaning subcultures arising during the upheavals of the 1960's are particularly susceptible to this.
This leads naturally to Aijid Ahmad's primary criticism of Said. Orientalism doesn't consider the varied responses of the Orient/Third-World to its theories. In particular, Ahmad correctly points out that Orientalism over-focuses blames on the West and doesn't address the self-inflicted problems of "Oriental" societies. Based on this criticism, the proper approach is to balance the effects of Western Orientalism and the indigenous difficulties. Essentially, Ahmad advocates abandoning the simple depiction of the Orient for a complex and layered reality.
Orientalism's uncriticized weakness lies in its treatment of Europe. Said willingly admits his limited focus on Britain, France and United States may miss some important scholarship found elsewhere. This concentration has some logic to it. His trio of nations has been among the strongest if not dominant powers in the colonial and post-colonial world. A complete survey of European Orientalism could run for several volumes. Yet in this focus, Said misses those European nations who had had longer and more intricate relations with the "Orient".
Said mentions his lack of attention to German scholarship on the Orient. Beyond the loss in additional scholarship, he cannot take account of the direct influence of the German academic tradition on the rest of Europe and particularly the United States. Beyond this immediate effect, Said loses the transmitted experience of the German Reich's participation in the direct struggle against the Ottoman Empire. While he mentions the Medieval and Renaissance hostility to Islam based on direct threat and conflict, he ignores the extension of this conflict into the 18th and 19th centuries. Yet this conflict remained a dominant factor in the existence of the Austrian and Russian Empires. As long as the struggle continued, the Orient in the form of Islam would have a direct influence on the course of European history. The simple illustration of this is the European approach to independence for the Balkan states and occasional support for the Ottomans versus an opponent. While this support was partially based on the perceived weakness of the Ottomans and resultant manipulability, it also concedes the existence of some real and beneficial power.
Said's exclusion of other European states weakens his structure in a different manner. It's useful to consider the British and French perceptions of Austria and Russia. A simple interpretation of Orientalism presumes a unified Europe as opposed to the Orient. Yet this ignores the equally institutionalized denigration of Austria and Russia. We can refer to the image of the mythical Slavic province of Ruritania (cf. Anthony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda), a den of intrigue and iniquity. Add to this Said's notes on the relative knowledge of the Near Orient versus the Far Orient. This suggests more of a subtle gradation in the construction of the Other than is represented by Orientalism's sharp division between Occident and Orient.
Other historical patterns also stress the need for the representation of a more complex Occident. For instance Said argues that European exploration and extension of trade routes to India and the Far East shows hostility to Islam. A simpler explanation may be mercantile concerns for lowering expenses and increasing profits. Direct trade was more profitable than relying on Arab middlemen. The Arab reaction to Portuguese penetration of the Indian Ocean reflected a concern with being excluded from the profits of trade with India rather than with the intrusion of a new power in the region. This concern with trade leads to different motivations for learning languages and examining cultures. A variety of motivations for scholarship argue for a more complex Occident. The need for more complexity does not necessarily invalidate Said's central points on the institutionalized domination common to Western European Orientalism. Rather it demands refinement of a useful critique of the study of colonialism.
103 internautes sur 130 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9c083e34) étoiles sur 5 Arguably flawed but exceptionally potent and important 31 janvier 2002
Par Earl Hazell - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Public opinion has gone in and out like the tides on Said's book since I first read it some six odd years ago. It has been said that the primal characteristic of a truly enlightened mind is its ability to entertain two seemingly contradictory ideas at the same time; in that context I find it odd that people can be so proud of their total discrediting of Said's work in favor of the preeminent and (seemingly) diametrically opposed Bernard Lewis. It is obvious to me that both men have something provocative to teach us about Europe and America's relationship with the Middle East (as it has been over the centuries and is reflected in culture and scholarship), and both need to be heard in that context.
It is not often that a brilliantly, exhaustively researched book on an alternatingly controversial and trivialized subject can engender an emotional response of the magnitude with which this work does--which usually means that it is worth reading. In documenting the psychological architecture of the western mind and its perspective on the East--or the "Orient"--he deconstructs it. The idea that it exists deconstructs it by nature; before reading this book you will swear that most of what we know of the Arabian East is the absolute truth, without even being aware that it's been either romanticized into impotence or isn't much of anything complimentary, let alone influential.
I rate ORIENTALISM, for its effect on our psyche as Americans alone (regardless of race or assumed political leanings), as one of the most important books written in the last decades of the 20th century. The world looks the way it does not because of natural law, like the reasons why the Sahara has become a desert--or at least not by the natural laws we have imagined. Edward Said, regardless of the possibility of biases coming through his scholarship, regardless of the political realities he left out of his thesis, shows this in remarkable fashion to people--like myself--who never considered this fact's existence (let alone its influence on my perceptions of the Middle East in all their forms).
Be mature enough to accept that it is not the only educated opinion or set of facts about our complex world, and this book will be a great read and teach a great deal. I would suggest triangulating ORIENTALISM with Karen Armstrong's HOLY WAR and Moseddeq Ahmed's WAR ON FREEDOM, for a truly eye-opening experience of the Western psyche regarding the East.
32 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9bafb0e4) étoiles sur 5 An exhaustive review of European literature about the East 17 décembre 1999
Par Michel Deacon - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Whatever one may chose to believe about Said's methodology, one cannot question his vast erudition concerning Western literature about the Middle East. Said presents a rigorous and thoroughgoing exegesis of Western texts about the "Orient" and covers virtually the entire gamut in European letters, from Nietzsche to Karl Marx, from British colonialsim to American social science. His penetrating criticism of this material constitutes a significant contribution to the canon of literature.
One may argue against the merit of Said's more radical interpretation of these texts, namely, that the concept of the "Orient" is a sweeping generalization that lacks "ontological stability," and must be understood as a discourse of power in Western literature. This is a fascinating and intellectually pregnant thesis, although many may find it recondite and polemical.
38 internautes sur 47 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0x9bafb288) étoiles sur 5 The underlying premise developed by others, Said just bends facts to make them fit to predetermined thesis 21 octobre 2011
Par rickholden76 - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Like most anthropologists educated after the 1990's, I came up with the non-anthropological works of folks like Said, Foucault,Gramsci,etc... I have no problem with the holistic use of blending of the sciences and the humanities, but it was the uncritical incorporation of works like Orientalism that almost destroyed my discipline, and still threaten it today. Works like that also help to introduce a double-speak kind of language that adds unnecessary words to obscure meaning, rather than clarify. Like a cold-reading psychic, it just throws out words that are so generalist that they could apply to anything and anyone, and say very little concrete. I see the phenomenon of not questioning a thesis, because it tells us what we want to hear, and therefore not looking into the sources that it is built upon. For example, from the book:

"Thus out of the Napoleonic expedition there issued a whole series of textual children, from Chateaubriand's Itinéraire to Lamartine's Voyage en Orient to Flaubert's Salammbô, and in the same tradition, Lane's Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians and Richard Burton's Personal Narrative of a Pilgrimage to al-Madinah
and Meccah. What binds them together is not only their common background in Oriental legend and experience but also their learned reliance on the Orient as a kind of womb out of which they were brought forth. If paradoxically these creations turned out to be highly stylized simulacra, elaborately wrought imitations
of what a live Orient might be thought to look like, that by no means detracts from the strength of their imaginative conception or from the strength of European mastery of the Orient, whose prototypes respectively were Cagliostro, the great European impersonator of the Orient, and Napoleon, its first modern conqueror."

Ibn Warraq deconstructs this:

"What does Said mean by "out of the Napoleonic expedition there issued a whole series of textual children" except that these five very varied works were written after 1798? The pretentious language of textual children
issuing from the Napeolonic expedition covers up this crushingly obvious fact. Perhaps there is a profound thesis hidden in the jargon, that these works were somehow influenced by the Napoleonic expedition, inspired by it, and could not have been written without it. But no such thesis is offered. This arbitrary group consists of three Frenchmen, two Englishmen, one work of romantic historical fiction, three travel books, one detailed study of modern Egyptians. What on earth do they have in common? Said tells us that what binds them together
is "their common background in Oriental legend and experience but also their learned reliance on the Orient as a kind of womb out of which they were brought forth ". What is the background of Oriental legend that inspired
Burton or Lane? Was Flaubert's vivid imagination stimulated by "Oriental legend", and was this the same legendary material that inspired Burton, Lane and Lamartine?"

Now, I'm no fan of Ibn Warraq's equally troubling selective use of facts to make the "West" into a hero, just as Said attempts to make it into a destroyer. However, his facts are correct here.

I used to be a huge fan of Said, until I did just that. I wasn't until I actually started to do real-world field work that I found a disconnect between the simplistic and convenient paradigms of academia and day-to-day social phenomena. I gave the book 3 stars, because it gives a good explanation of Foucault's gaze, and Gramasci's hegemony thesis, but it then goes on to cherry pick historical people and facts, ignores others, and takes most of them out of context in order to present an argument that makes the same mistakes Said argues against. Rather than to fight against phenomena like Orientalism, he simply attempts to reverse it to produce an Occidentalism that seeks a new boogieman. On an academic level, the book doesn't pass scrutiny if you actually look into the facts, and on a political level it only seeks to produce a victim mentality which diminishes the agency of a huge socio-cultural group to refashion them into pawns, rather than active agents of history. If you've read or are reading this book, then you're probably at a University or have been to one. My advice is to visit their modern Oriental department, the Middle Eastern Studies department, and ask someone there about the book. They will be happy to point out all the historical fallacies in it. You'll find that there are more fallacies than facts. [...]
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