Representing Islam in the age of neo-orientalism: Media, politics and identitypurchase PDF
Authors: Mazhar Al-Zo’by
Islam,media,orientalism,western representation,self-orientalizing,native informants
The aim of this article is to examine the persistent charterer of orientalist discourse in western mass media narratives by analysing the function of the ‘native subject’ and ‘native attitude’ in the constitution of neo-orientalism. While the classical orientalist representational vision has dominated the western media and popular narratives of Islam and Arabs throughout the twentieth century, it is the contention of this article that new forms and formations of orientalist discourse have emerged corresponding with the West’s new imperial designs in the post-Cold War era and especially during the so-called ‘War on Terror’. The rise of these neo-orientalist strategies in the western media finds its elaborate articulation in the deployment of ‘native subjects’ as specialists who provide a crucial function in facilitating oriental discourse for the service of hegemonic (military and cultural) ideology. Relying on interpretive discourse analysis, this article will illustrate how a serious engagement with current orientalist media ideology warrants a critical examination of the ways its new strategies have mutated to include the native as a source for its ideological narratives. Whereas in classical orientalist narratives the ‘oriental native’ had indispensably occupied central status as the ‘object’ of ‘authentic’ oriental knowledge, in the neo-orientalist discourse the ‘native’ becomes the ‘voice/authority’ of the reorientalized native cultures.