The Identity of the Middle East: Context, Origin, and Social Influence Essay

The Identity of the Middle East: Context, Origin, and Social Influence Essay

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‘‘Utterances can be found, satisfying these conditions, yet such that, they do not ‘describe’ or ‘report’ or constate anything at all, are not ‘true or false’; and the uttering of a sentence is, or is part of the doing of an action, which again would not normally be described as sayingsomething.’’
The performative aspect of language conceptualised by Austin half a century ago, enables a more nuanced approach to the statement ‘The Middle East is an Invention’ than a simple examination whether it is true or false. It implies the necessity of an examination that takes into consideration its possible meanings and their historical origins. Moreover, such an action has its political implications. These can become visible if such an argument is considered in contrast to its historical counterpart that presupposes that the term ‘Middle East’ contains an essence of some sort and as such it can be definitely analysed to its components. Comprehended in that manner, the claim that the Middle East is a fictitious artefact is first and foremost a critique.
Arguably, Benedict Anderson’s analysis of the imaginary origins of the nation adheres to the same suggestion mentioned above. In disagreement with Gellner’s approach to nationalism, Anderson conflates the meaning of ‘invention’ with ‘imagination’, but does not question the existence of the nation as such . On the contrary he promotes a comprehensive approach to the concept of the nation, by stressing the need to unravel its composition . From another perspective, cultural tradition is invented and claims continuity within history through repetition . The historical origins of the critique of the attempt to naturalize the geographical designation, that the Middle East formed an important ...

... middle of paper ...

... Islamic World . Arguably, it does not seem to recognize that the concept of an Islamic World originated from Orientalists .

Works Cited

Anderson Benedict, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism, London: Verso3, 2003
Anderson Betty, ‘The duality of National Identity in the Middle East: A Critical Review’, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Vol. 11, No.2 (Fall 2002)
Bilgin Pinar,‘‘Whose ‘Middle East’? Geopolitical inventions and Practices of security”, International Relations, Vol.18, No.1 (2004)
Chakrabarty Dipesh, Provincializing Europe, New Jersey, Princeton University Press, 2008
Gause, Fred., H., ‘Systemic Approaches to Middle East International Relations’, International Studies Review, Vol. 1, No. 1 (1999)
Eric Hobsbawm, Terence Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000

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