Occidentalism can exist and develop only in relation to its pre-existing coefficient, orientalism . Indeed, there exists a dichotomy between these two concepts. It refers to the description of the World and its organization. Therefore, an analysis of the meaningful concept of Occidentalism cannot occur without the consideration of its complementary and pre-established component: Orientalism. The concept of Orientalism has predated the Occidentalism one. Occidentalism has been constructed as a consequence of the creation of Orientalism. It appeared as a reflect of the definition of the orient. The concept of Orientalism has been studied intensively and its apparition has been the object of lots of questions. Effectively, the creation of such a notion has changed the organization of the world and the nature of the relations between countries. Thus, realizing the existence of an Occident concept, the modernized World needs to define it. Looking for the etymology of the concept is necessary in order to understand the real content. From oc (forward) and cidere (drop), the word Occident' refers to the idea of an improvement, a march. Several attempts have been started to define the concept of Occidentalism, but they all met the same difficulties: the dependency to the concept of Orientalism and the impossible neutrality.
[...] Indeed, America had to face the reality on September 11th of 2001: ‘People in the United States have been forced to realize that others may regard them very differently from the way they see themselves'. It is sometimes very surprising just to discover that there could exist a different way of thinking. Sometimes our reality appears so logic in its context that we cannot even imagine the existence of a contestant theory. This shift in the confidence of believes can be hard for a nation to consider. In truth, the concept of nation is the basis for hegemony and domination struggles, but also in order to reach independence and autonomy. [...]
[...] As a consequence, one can notice that “Occidentalism requires careful and consistent definition in order to be a productive participant in post- Orientalist discourse” Therefore, the thesis of this essay is that “Occidentalism” is a dependent and subjective concept. Even though one can perceive globally its meaning, this refers to something completely abstract. Occidentalism depends on the understanding that we have of Orientalism (concept that has been used in the past and has pre-determined our perception of the World). Furthermore, what the word “occident” refers to is deeply influenced by our positioning in the World and by our culture. [...]
[...] Indeed, as Occidentalism is a subjective concept (as we have seen earlier), the justification of an intervention in the name of an apparent valuable cause can be completely unjustified and beyond understanding for another approach. The entire image of the West that one can have is revealed through the words employed for the description of ‘Occidentalism‘. For instance, we can pay attention to this description and interpretation given by Hassan Hanafi, a research professor (who will be more studied later in this essay) : ‘Assuming there really is something we may call a Western cultural hegemony or cultural imperialism, then 'orientalism' is its literary and social scientific form, and 'Occidentalism' is a program for revenge'. [...]
[...] Indeed, he supports the thesis of rejecting the East-West dichotomy in favor of a Universal approach. Conclusion Defining the concept of Occidentalism with the hardest neutrality is not an easy challenge. Indeed, the dichotomy formed with the concept of Orientalism underlines the complexity of this task. Therefore, by trying to be the most neutral as we want we cannot avoid being culture-influenced. Realizing that makes us able to understand the others' perceptions or at least to be aware to their way of thinking. [...]
[...] The words used in this statement are not neutral and reveal a subjective perception of the concept, beyond their intrinsic meaning. Therefore, according to the analysis of Foucault, one can notice that even without meaning it, an interlocutor talking about Occidentalism, betrays its position through its speech tools. This analysis of 'Occident' could be put in parallel with the research effectuated by Edward Said concerning the concept of 'Orientalism'. In its book, Said reveals that the creation of Orientalism has helped the Occident to build itself as a hegemonic entity. [...]
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