Conclusion Toward a Saidian Paradigm

  • Prasad Pannian


Edward Said was one of the rare intellectuals who recognized the epistemic violence implicit in the comparative mode of knowledge production. Orientalism, as he rightly identified, is the name of a dominant discourse of one-way comparison between the West and the East that produced coercive and violent forms of knowledge through colonial administration and control. As a practitioner of comparative literature, Said effectively critiqued this Orientalist discourse of comparison, undermined its utility to the colonial enterprise, and recognized the importance of constituting the politics of resistant subjectivity with his “agonistic dialectics.” This does not, however, signify a complete rejection of everything associated with the West as such, as his passionate appreciation for the Western canonic literatures and his preference of Western classical music also demonstrate. Nor did he reject the entirety of Israel and its history despite the fact that he was always fighting for Palestinians’ “permission to narrate” their own history. What he subjected to critical scrutiny was the discourse of Orientalism, and its effects on the forms of knowledge production that provided the basis for colonial domination and rule over the Orient. In terms of resistant subjectivity to the domination provided for by Orientalism, as discussed earlier, he was sensitive to what he described as a “technique of trouble”—that is, that without proper “reception,” effective “resistance” is not possible.


Knowledge Production Dominant Ideology Colonial Administration Subject Formation Violent Form 
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© Prasad Pannian 2016

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  • Prasad Pannian

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