Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.782062
Title: Not enough said : Orientalism and the ambivalence of colonial discourse
Author: Bouzid, Maryem
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2019
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Abstract:
This research is a study of the notion of ambivalence within colonial and Orientalist contexts. Drawing on postcolonial and psychoanalytical theories, this thesis intends to examine the vacillation of the latter discourses between the poles of attraction and repulsion towards the colonised 'Other' and, more specifically, towards the Orient. This thesis posits that the concept of ambivalence is vital and indispensable in any discussion of Orientalist narratives and questions therefore Said's lack of engagement with it in his ground-breaking Orientalism. However, in contrast to many critical approaches to Said, this thesis argues for the existence of ambivalence not in order to refute or whittle down Said's text, but to validate and emphasise its central premises. Significantly, all major criticisms of Said's Orientalism have revolved around this pivotal issue of ambivalence. In addition to its employment by male critics to vindicate the colonising voice and attack Said's totalising and essentialist condemnation of it, ambivalence has been used also by female and feminist scholars to argue for the distinctiveness of women's approach to the Orient and admonish Said's neglect of the significance of gender. Another major reproach of Said's theory of Orientalism concerns its insufficient account of resistance or contradiction within the narratives of the colonised (or formerly colonised) intelligentsias. Through examining the fraught and complex idiosyncrasies of each group and highlighting the ubiquity of ambivalence in their Orientalist approaches, this thesis seeks eventually to verify Said's claims of the unity and totality of Orientalism. Moreover, the issue of ambivalence has been used ad nauseam to debunk or de-emphasise Said's central argument about the symbiotic relationship between power and knowledge. As this discussion intends to show, however, the validity of such a relationship cannot be contested on the basis of 'subversive' or 'sympathetic' accounts of Orientalists, since such accounts can often maintain their associations with discourses of power even in times of confusion and insecurity. One ultimate objective of this study of ambivalence is to discourage conventional and binaristic critical approaches that, either from a sheer desire for categorisation or an utter misunderstanding of Said's thesis, have tended to divide writers on the Orient into pro- and anti-imperialists. Orientalist narratives, as this thesis argues, are generally too conflicted to be neatly fitted into either the 'for' or 'against' column with regard to nineteenth-century British imperialism.
Supervisor: Wheatley, David ; Rist, Thomas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.782062  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Orientalism in literature ; Ambivalence in literature
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