Orientalism

Baumann points out that the important aspect of Edward W. Said’s concept (1978) is that it does not simply mean that ‘We’ (the people in an imagined ‘West’) are good and ‘They’ (the people in an imagined ‘East/ Orient’) are bad. In orientalising practices, the ‘Others’ are not only bad, but are also ‘admired’ for what ‘We’ have already lost or ‘forgotten’. Consequently, the construction of the image of the ‘Other’ holds both sides: a negative connotation for its ‘primitivism’ and a positive connotation for the preservation of ‘naturalness’ that ‘We’ have already lost (Baumann 2004, pp. 19-21). It is an image that ‘Westerners’ produced of what they considered to be the ‘Orient’:

Orientalism as Said analysed it, was not some primitive technique of reversal favoured by the stupid or the vicious, but on the contrary, a sophisticated discipline developed by academic and artistic elites, and the grammar of orientalism is not limited to: ‘we are good, so they are bad. (Baumann 2004, p. 20) [1]

Accordingly, the picture ‘We’ paint about the ‘Other’ is in our imagination, and likewise any construction of ‘Them’, and is not an equal exchange or negotiation of selfing and othering processes. Orientalising practices are thus extremely hierarchical and crucially simple because it does not matter ‘whether the other is known or not known, defined or undefinable.’ (Baumann 2004, p. 29) Orientalising practices depict the most common othering strategy used by Galatasaray and Fenerbahqe fans in the narratives about the two clubs. Othering others by degrading them as less ‘civilised’ or ‘primitive’, even though there might be a hint of admiration in it, is most likely the simplest way of differentiation.

  • [1] Alexandra Schwell has used Baumann’s grammars to analyse the complex othering processes during Euro 2012 in Poland (2015).
 
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