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Orientalism as Cultural Practices and the Production of Sociological Knowledge
Sociology Compass (2008)
  • Peter Chua, San Jose State University

Since the 1990s, sociologists and others have increasingly used the term orientalism to refer commonly to ethnocentrism, Eurocentrism, prejudicial stereotyping, and cultural misrepresentations of non-‘western’ societies, particularly those influenced by Islamic knowledge and practices. I chart how theorist Edward Said has helped initiate the sociology of orientalism by emphasizing the relationship of orientalism as a set of cultural practice and discourse to modern empires and global imperialism. I discuss the prominent clusters of studies published in English in the sociology of orientalism: (i) cultural representations and (ii) cultural regulation and social-identity formation. I argue that these studies have examined the ways orientalisms have deployed signifying practices of abstraction, difference, and desire in constructing problematic images and social relations. Furthermore, I contend that sociology as an intellectual endeavor still needs to confront seriously the issues raised by critics of orientalisms.

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Citation Information
Peter Chua. "Orientalism as Cultural Practices and the Production of Sociological Knowledge" Sociology Compass Vol. 2 Iss. 4 (2008)
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