I've recently read Edward Said's book Orientalism but throughout reading, I didn't really find an explicit solution to Orientalism. Though the thing I could see take form as a solution would be his cultural relativism; that culture should be judged/or seen through the culture itself, and not through the comparison of other cultures (because of the existing dialectic relationship of domination between the occident and the orient). Can this be read from Said's book? And if so could this relate to Charles Taylors "Politics of Recognition", wherein Taylor describes how the best solution to multiculturalism is both recognizing that everyone is equal but also recognize their differences - through a fusion of horizons by which culture is a value in itself.

Said doesn't speak much on multiculturalism, more so indirectly. Therefore it's hard to determine what he would think about politics of recognition and multiculturalism. But could one assume that Said's solution would relate to Taylor's?


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The last chapter of Orientalism only touches briefly on possible solutions. The book is more concerned with an exposition of Orientalism than with suggesting an alternative. Edward Said writes (p. 325):

My project has been to describe a particular system of ideas, not by any means to displace the system with a new one.

Nevertheless, he does offer some thoughts. As I understand him, he suggests that studies of oriental cultures should abandon stereotypical portrayals of the Orient in favor of fresh looks at specific cultures. Studies should focus on aspects of human experience in its cultures rather than portraying the Orient as foreign and other.

I haven't read Taylor, but my feeling is that he is dealing with a different issue than Said. Taylor seems to be concerned with recognizing differences, whereas Said's account of Orientalism is that the Occident already treats the Orient as different and incapable of speaking for itself. Orientalism can't necessarily be solved by a merely political solution like recognition, because the systems of studying the Orient themselves propagate false notions about it. This is not to say that the two ideas are incompatible, but they are different.

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