نقد خطاب التسلط وآليات الإقصاء / A Critique of Hegemonic Discourse and the Mechanisms of Exclusion


Ali Mabrook



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مبروك, علي; Mabrook, Ali

Document Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics

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[The cultural discourse in the Arab World since al-nahda (nineteenth century renaissance) has been subservient to politics. It evolved as an ideological discourse within the state apparatus, serving dissimulation and propaganda. Were its development to take place in the framework of civil society, it would have become epistemological and thus contributed to restructuring an alternative cultural horizon where the social order could have generated its own specific modernity. But since the orientation of the existing cultural discourse veers towards the State instead of Knowledge, it is not surprising that it articulates ideological positions rather than expose epistemological issues. The hegemony of the ideology has produced a superficial discourse unable to probe into the roots of its own failure or tackle the concepts of renaissance -- among which democracy and human rights are fundamental ones. The prevailing discourse has blamed its bankruptcy on the illiteracy of the masses and their backward modes of life. The dominant cultural discourse did not try to remedy the situation, but used it as an excuse to remain domineering and elitist. It argues that society -- given its backwardness -- has to obey and follow the spokesmen of the dominant discourse. It is probable that such a cultural discourse would be more interested in maintaining shallowness and illiteracy, instead of enlightening people, in order to perpetuate its control. Thus discussion of renaissance remained idle chatter, consuming its concepts politically rather than producing them epistemologically. This politicized consumption was presented as a march towards modernity, without realizing that modernity implies an awareness of one's own time and predicament. Such a discourse makes claims but fails to achieve; thus it is crisis ridden. To go beyond this impasse, the cultural discourse must seek to produce concepts within the existing fabric of the dominant culture and reveal what perpetuates dominantion and backwardness in its deep structure. The modernity of the cultural discourse in the Arab World is deceptive, for upon analysis its classical foundation becomes manifest. This dominant classical frame of reference emphasizes the monolithic and dismisses alternative interpretations. The present discourse continues in the same vein: excluding rather than assimilating, oppressing rather than exchanging. The borrowed models reinforce this tendency since they are imported as finished products and imposed mindlessly. Reality then is controlled and shaped to fit the model and the scheme. In either case dissent is stifled. For human rights to thrive in the Arab World the solution lies less in the political sphere and more in the cultural sphere.]

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