Reflection of Orientalist Discourse on Netflix Turkey: The Protector

Reflection of Orientalist Discourse on Netflix Turkey: The Protector

Yasemin Özkent
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7180-4.ch053
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This study focuses on the analysis of the orientalist structures in The Protector (2018-2020) which is the first original series of Netflix Turkey. The formation method of the image of the East through a popular culture product in a global digital broadcast program constituted the starting point of the study. New media platforms have also gained a place as the principal actor of orientalist fiction with the development of digital technology today. As a digital platform producing special contents for each country, Netflix interprets cultural values through exchanging and re-producing them. Accordingly, discourse analysis method was used in the study to discover how orientalism related patterns were inserted in Netflix contents. Formation of orientalist discourse was examined through character representation and time-space representation categories formed through considering theoretic information. As a result, it was observed that orientalism has also found a representation area for itself in media devices emerging with technology.
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Concept Of Orientalism

Edward W. Said defined the concepts of orientalism in different ways in the introduction of his book Orientalism (1978). First of all, orientalism is how the Western countries see the East based on common values. Secondly, remarking the large scope of the concept, Said defined everyone researching on the East as ‘orientalist’. These researchers can be ethnologists, sociologists, historians or philologists. Its third definition with more historical and material measures is related to all institutions covering the West, its perspective, metaphors and administration. Orientalism expresses West’s effort to build authority on the East (Said, 1998, p. 12-14). Through these definitions, Said drew attention to the political and ideological dimension of the concept. Using the word orientalism with the same meaning as Eurocentrism concept, John M. Hobson stated that it is used for defining West’s superiority over East. Classifying the East as “the other”, he refers to the underdevelopment and inferior characteristic of the East. While the West was blessed with characteristics such as rationalist, hardworking, productive, unselfish, liberal democratic, honest, developed, open for improvement and independent, the East was depicted with the characteristics of irrationality, recklessness, laziness, immaturity, underdeveloped, passive, and stable (2015, p. 22-23). As Kontny stated, its structurization was based on “us” and “them”. Orientalism is a discourse, representation and philosophy. It is the basic concept used by the West for stating something about the East in political, cultural and social terms (2002, p. 121).

Key Terms in this Chapter

The Protector: It is the first original content of Netflix Turkey in drama, fantastic, action and science fiction genre. It was directed by Can Evrenol, Umut Aral and Gönenç Uyanik. It was broadcasted in four seasons with a total number of thirty-two episodes between 2018 and 2020.

Globalization: The world entering a universal phase by ascending national borders by changing in almost every area such as economy, politics, and communication.

Orientalism: West collecting the meanings, images and values it produced in economic, social and cultural terms for the East under a single frame. It is regarded as an academic discipline.

Netflix: A subscription-based broadcasting service providing online series and films.

Discourse Analysis: The analysis method mediating to reveal both media’s connections with cultural, communal, and social areas and also the prevailing representations.

Representation: Providing the connection of meaning and language with culture and presenting it within a semantic system.

Digital Media Platforms: Digital broadcasting media emerging with the development of internet technologies.

Netflix Series: Content service presented to the whole world after being produced for broadcast on Netflix platform.

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