By Bülent Somay (auth.)

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Extra info for The Psychopolitics of the Oriental Father: Between Omnipotence and Emasculation

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13 But then, this argument does not need to be limited to gender identities: all cultural and sub-cultural identities that are constituted as dualisms by the Western ratio can be read the same way. A historical difference between civilisations assumes a performative character in the passage from simple mercantile capitalism to capitalism-asworld-system, and establishes ‘the West’ as the authoritative identity engineering this passage: capitalist Europe assumes the performance of the modernising driving force at the same moment it declares its Asian/African counterpart ‘the Orient’.

In neither case can it be lord over the being of the thing and achieve absolute negation of it. Here, therefore, is present this moment of recognition, viz. that the other consciousness sets aside its own being-for-self, and in so doing itself does what the first does to it. (Hegel 1977, p. 116) Hegel maintains that both the Master and the Bondsman need each other (or rather, each other’s consciousness) in order to become selfconscious, to identify (with) itself (as itself). To become master over another entity necessitates upholding its existence as well, so the ‘negation’ implied in the domination relation can never be an absolute one.

These dichotomies, each in its own way leading to a relation of domination, are only a few of what the Western frame of mind has produced starting from the Enlightenment. The economic sphere, the realm of production we have barely touched upon here, is chock-full of them: production/consumption, city/country, industry/agriculture, use-value/exchange-value and so on. Western philosophy and social sciences cannot seem to do without them: materialism/idealism, mind/body or soul/body, qualitative/quantitative, nature/nurture, essence/appearance, temporal/spatial, content/form, to name but a few.

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