different, are exercising a form of cultural and intellectual hegemony over those who are perceived to be of the Orient, or Orientals. Hegemony as defined by Gramsci is a process by which one group exerts influence and control over another whether it be through coercion or force. In this case, Said explains that the rise of the idea of Orientalism did not involve a force, but rather a continuing
refinement of the difference between what we know of as the Occident and the East, or the Orient. Further defining Orientalism, Said goes on to say that it is “a discourse that is by no means in direct, corresponding relationship with political power in the raw” (Said, p. 12). This idea echoes Foucault’s theory of discourse and power. Foucault discusses power as a “multiplicity of force relations immanent in the sphere in which they operate …in the formulation of the law, in the various social hegemonies” (Storey, Reader, p. 347). Tying back into Gramsci, Foucault identifies this particular social hegemony as power exercised by the European bourgeois class over the intellectual construct that delineates Europe from the East, or the Orient. The resulting construct is Orientalism—an all inclusive concept meant to denote all of the attributes that separate Europe and Europeans from the East and the Orientals. There is also an element of Marxism inherent in Said’s Orientalism. Said substitutes the European intellectual and the Oriental in place of Marx’s bourgeoisie and working class. Of course, Gramsci and Foucault trace their intellectual roots to Marx, so Said already comes to us with a Marxist tilt. In order to fully grasp what Said has to say in Orientalism, an understanding of the various schools of cultural theory is essential. Foucault, Gramsci and Marx provide the intellectual antecedents that bring Said’s Orientalism to life.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 3 pages?