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Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies

by and

Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A pioneering investigation of the lineage of anti-Western stereotypes that traces them back to the West itself.

Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said's Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of "the East" in the Western colonial mind. But "the West" is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of "the West" in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others.

We generally understand "radical Islam" as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders — often Jews — pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of "blood and soil." The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter.

A work of extraordinary range and erudition, Occidentalism will permanently enlarge our collective frame of vision.

Review:

"A timely tract, brilliantly though broadly argued." Ray Olson, Booklist

Review:

"There's nothing particularly new here, at least not to readers of Karl Popper and Bernard Lewis, but Occidentalism makes for a needed provocation all the same." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"[B]rief but engaging....[A]n important book on a topic that deserves to be treated seriously by scholars and concerned citizens alike." Library Journal

Book News Annotation:

Playing off Edward Said's landmark Orientalism, showing how western societies have demeaned people of the Middle East for centuries as a justification for colonialism and its attendant barbarism, Buruma (Bard College) and Margalit (philosophy, Hebrew U. of Jerusalem) survey the stereotypes people in the Middle East have about westerners in general and Americans in particular who colonize and brutalize them.
Annotation 2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Occidentalism offers a pioneering investigation of the lineage of anti-Western stereotypes that traces them back to the West itself.

Synopsis:

The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems.  But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world.  Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power.

From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats.

19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II. 

Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power.  But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets.

Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions.  History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.

Synopsis:

Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said's Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of "the East" in the Western colonial mind. But "the West" is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of "the West" in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others.

We generally understand "radical Islam" as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders—often Jews—pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of "blood and soil." The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter.

A work of extraordinary range and erudition, Occidentalism will permanently enlarge our collective frame of vision

About the Author

Ian Buruma is currently the Luce Professor at Bard College. His previous books include God's Dust, Behind the Mask, The Missionary and the Libertine, Playing the Game, The Wages of Guilt, Anglomania, and Bad Elements.

Avishai Margalit is Schulman Professor of Philosophy at the Center for Rationality at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. His previous books include Idolatry, The Decent Society, Views and Reviews, and The Ethics of Memory.

Table of Contents

  1. War Against the West   1

  2. The Occidental City   13

  3. Heroes and Merchants   49

  4. Mind of the West   75

  5. The Wrath of God   101

  6. Seeds of Revolution   137

    Notes   151

    Index   157

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594200083
Subtitle:
The History of an Idea
Author:
Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit
Author:
Mazower, Mark
Author:
Buruma, Ian
Author:
Margalit, Avishai
Publisher:
Penguin Press HC, The
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Civilization
Subject:
Developing countries
Subject:
Civilization, western
Subject:
World
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series Volume:
108-75
Publication Date:
March 25, 2004
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 in 1 lb
Age Level:
from 18

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » International Studies
History and Social Science » Western Civilization » General
History and Social Science » World History » Western Civilization
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Literary and Cultural Studies

Occidentalism: The West in the Eyes of Its Enemies Used Hardcover
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$4.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Penguin Books - English 9781594200083 Reviews:
"Review" by , "A timely tract, brilliantly though broadly argued."
"Review" by , "There's nothing particularly new here, at least not to readers of Karl Popper and Bernard Lewis, but Occidentalism makes for a needed provocation all the same."
"Review" by , "[B]rief but engaging....[A]n important book on a topic that deserves to be treated seriously by scholars and concerned citizens alike."
"Synopsis" by , Occidentalism offers a pioneering investigation of the lineage of anti-Western stereotypes that traces them back to the West itself.
"Synopsis" by ,
The story of global cooperation between nations and peoples is a tale of dreamers goading us to find common cause in remedying humanity’s worst problems.  But international institutions have also provided a tool for the powers that be to advance their own interests and stamp their imprint on the world.  Mark Mazower’s Governing the World tells the epic story of that inevitable and irresolvable tension—the unstable and often surprising alchemy between ideas and power.

From the beginning, the willingness of national leaders to cooperate has been spurred by crisis: the book opens in 1815, amid the rubble of the Napoleonic Empire, as the Concert of Europe was assembled with an avowed mission to prevent any single power from dominating the continent and to stamp out revolutionary agitation before it could lead to war. But if the Concert was a response to Napoleon, internationalism was a response to the Concert, and as courts and monarchs disintegrated they were replaced by revolutionaries and bureaucrats.

19th century internationalists included bomb-throwing anarchists and the secret policemen who fought them, Marxist revolutionaries and respectable free marketeers. But they all embraced nationalism, the age’s most powerful transformative political creed, and assumed that nationalism and internationalism would go hand in hand. The wars of the twentieth century saw the birth of institutions that enshrined many of those ideals in durable structures of authority, most notably the League of Nations in World War I and the United Nations after World War II. 

Throughout this history, we see that international institutions are only as strong as the great powers of the moment allow them to be. The League was intended to prop up the British empire. With Washington taking over world leadership from Whitehall, the United Nations became a useful extension of American power.  But as Mazower shows us, from the late 1960s on, America lost control over the dialogue and the rise of the independent Third World saw a marked shift away from the United Nations and toward more pliable tools such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.  From the 1990s to 2007, Governing the World centers on a new regime of global coordination built upon economic rule-making by central bankers and finance ministers, a regime in which the interests of citizens and workers are trumped by the iron logic of markets.

Now, the era of Western dominance of international life is fast coming to an end and a new multi-centered global balance of forces is emerging. We are living in a time of extreme confusion about the purpose and durability of our international institutions.  History is not prophecy, but Mark Mazower shows us why the current dialectic between ideals and power politics in the international arena is just another stage in an epic two-hundred-year story.

"Synopsis" by ,

Twenty-five years ago, Edward Said's Orientalism spawned a generation of scholarship on the denigrating and dangerous mirage of "the East" in the Western colonial mind. But "the West" is the more dangerous mirage of our own time, Ian Buruma and Avishai Margalit argue, and the idea of "the West" in the minds of its self-proclaimed enemies remains largely unexamined and woefully misunderstood. Occidentalism is their groundbreaking investigation of the demonizing fantasies and stereotypes about the Western world that fuel such hatred in the hearts of others.

We generally understand "radical Islam" as a purely Islamic phenomenon, but Buruma and Margalit show that while the Islamic part of radical Islam certainly is, the radical part owes a primary debt of inheritance to the West. Whatever else they are, al Qaeda and its ilk are revolutionary anti-Western political movements, and Buruma and Margalit show us that the bogeyman of the West who stalks their thinking is the same one who has haunted the thoughts of many other revolutionary groups, going back to the early nineteenth century. In this genealogy of the components of the anti-Western worldview, the same oppositions appear again and again: the heroic revolutionary versus the timid, soft bourgeois; the rootless, deracinated cosmopolitan living in the Western city, cut off from the roots of a spiritually healthy society; the sterile Western mind, all reason and no soul; the machine society, controlled from the center by a cabal of insiders—often Jews—pulling the hidden levers of power versus an organically knit-together one, a society of "blood and soil." The anti-Western virus has found a ready host in the Islamic world for a number of legitimate reasons, they argue, but in no way does that make it an exclusively Islamic matter.

A work of extraordinary range and erudition, Occidentalism will permanently enlarge our collective frame of vision

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