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The West and the Rest

Understanding the construction of the "West" and the function of this ideological concept

Grace Chan

on 8 September 2012

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Transcript of The West and the Rest

Futuristic? Characteristics: It is NOT about geography
It IS about history
It IS about development who are the west? Discourse & Power The West and the rest 1. Classify and categorize
2. Model of Comparison
3. Criteria of Evaluation what does this enable? As far back as the Enlightenment... A brief history lesson MICHAEL MANN: Europe is not considered a continent because of ecological reasons, but social fact. Fact is, they represent Christendom European Unity Foucault believes discourses are not only one statement, but a series of statements that fit together so that the referral of one implies a relation to all the others What is Discourse? Stuart Hall What comes to mind when we think of the West? In short, this produces an ideology Europeans thought that they were the most developed society
They established supremacy through five stages:
Exploration, early contact, settlement, imperialization and domination Remember Christopher Columbus? Expansion of Portugal to Africa
Expansion of Spain into "New world" Two noteworthy successes: Their goal? secure exclusive control of the flow of trade for their own riches to imprint its culture and customs on the new worlds religion encourages people to drive for moral and social improvement even against worldly authority
general recognition of norms regarding property rights and free exchange Most importantly,
There is no "reason" to be Christian but to unite EUROPEANS under one common identity It is mediated by language
and produced through practice The discourse about the West and the Rest was made through practice,
For example,
through how the West behaved against the Rest. The discourse of the West and the rest word choice: freedom fighters or terrorists? We may not accept the discourse of the west and the rest, but we are trapped into thinking that europeans are superior to the rest. Discourse are not closed systems, but can built on previous discourse Ex. the discourse of the West is built on the discourse of Christianity What do we need to know about discourse? Discourse is not innocent, but it is different than ideology Discourse is not about being true or false but whether or not they are in practice. When it is, it is known as the regime of truth The term "orientalism"
The noble savage
The uncivilized
The underdeveloped
The poor
The unstable
The primitive So what kind of discourse do we have here? By accepting the discourse of the "West", the rest becomes... ...Welcome to a world of stereotypes Took all the distinctions and collasped all the people into "Indians"
System of dispersion: the irony is that two separate discourses were working at the same time; the first is the image that the natives were peaceful and lived in paradise, while the other saw them as acting barbaric and warlike. Europeans encounter the new world with own categories and classify the environment according to own norms. They weren't Christians.
They were Cannibals. The more the East is put down, the more the West became the model, the prototype of social change and progress.

We see how Europe's identity isn't only formed by who they are,
but who they AREN'T.
The good vs the bad
The attractive vs the disgusting
The civilized vs the uncivlized The Beauty and the Beast Why is the west considered superior today? What does Foucault mean when he says Power is Knowledge? Discussion: Why might the West's concept of progress not be ideal for everyone? Who has access to create and write discourse?
Is it possible to reject dominant discourse? Do you think that the West's culture (USA, Britain) has an overwhelming presence which absorbs the cultural diversity of the world? Reconsider the notion that culture simply flows from the West to the rest of the world, how has the West incorporated aspects from the East?
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