Bipolar disorder : "The West and the Rest"
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Please cite this item using this persistent URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/11693/29184
he current ‘War on Terror’ has revitalized the language of friends and enemies, us and them, good and evil. The whole world has been forced to choose sides: are you with the terrorists or are you with the ‘freedom loving democracies’? This bipolar construct of west/rest dates back to the European expansion in the 16th century. Despite shifts in political conjunctures and alliances since then, it has persisted as an organizing principle operating on a variety of levels, as an idea, an ideology and an identity. Consistently privileging the west’s role in defining itself in opposition to its Others, the west/rest construct is a political tool with a powerful impact on how we perceive ourselves and the world. The main question this thesis poses is: can the divide inherent in the west/rest iv construct be reconciled? With the current war dividing us yet again into friends and enemies, and with Islam silently targeted as the alter-ego of terrorism, understanding the ways in which ‘the west and the rest’ dynamic has determined the boundaries of ‘us versus them’ in the past, allows us to appreciate the current role it plays in orchestrating the present. Turkey is used as an illustrative case, by examining how the construct of Islam as Other functions politically within an Islamic democracy. A tentative conclusion this thesis offers is that alternative conceptions of Islamic identity, originating from within civil society, may well provide an opportunity for reconciling the deadlock of ‘the west and the rest’ as it is expressed both inside Turkey and in the international arena.
War on Terror
“Friend and Foe”
Discourse of Power
Clash of Civilizations
Civil Society Relationship
HV6432 .J64 2002
September 11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001-