Stuart Hall 's The West And The Rest And Edward Said 's Orientalism

1653 WordsAug 20, 20157 Pages
Stuart Hall’s The West and the Rest and Edward Said’s Orientalism both explore notions of power and discourse with regard to the dynamics of the Western world and the non-Western world. The works engage with the concept of a worldwide binary of two unequal sides, and how certain discourses, namely that of “the West and the Rest”, and Orientalism, have both stemmed from this idea and worked to maintain it. While Hall engages with the idea of “the West and the Rest” – the Western world and how it has been defined in opposition to the non-Western – Said analyses the relationship between “the Orient and the Occident” (2). Said’s work reflects in a more concrete way what Hall proposes in his, using the example of “the Orient” as part of “the Rest” against which the Western world positions itself. Both pieces convey significant ideas about how power informs perceptions of difference between societies, and in turn how discourse forms and maintains global hegemonic power. Stuart Hall’s work introduces readers to the discourse of “the West and the Rest”, and outlines how the “system of representation” it provides serves to validate the power of the Western world (186). He highlights how the dissemination of discourse about Western superiority and the comparative “otherness” of the non-Western world work to maintain power hierarchies. Hall pinpoints several historical events, from the Crusades to colonisation, as instrumental in forming a Western identity through opposition to “the
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