The West-East From Two Children's Points of View: The Example of BBC-TRT

The West-East From Two Children's Points of View: The Example of BBC-TRT

Murat Özdemir
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-7180-4.ch048
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This study discussed whether the media is a tool that produces orientalist representations and whether the media is effective in the internalization of orientalism. The aim of the study is to identify the orientalist discourse in the language and culture of the media through discourse analysis method, and to discuss the effects of the media on the formation of self-orientalism as well as the instrumentality of the media on this issue. In the study, a sample of the documentary named Istanbul and Bristol in 1971 From Two Children's Point of View, which is a co-production of BBC-TRT, was taken, and the documentary was analysed with the orientalist discourse analysis method of Edward Said. As a result of the research, it was seen that the media has a discourse that alienates Eastern culture and is also a tool in the production and internalization of orientalism.
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The idea of establishing domination in the social order is one of the most discussed topics in the field of social sciences. Dominant ways of thinking in the historical plane; they try to define cultures, states or a particular community on the basis of their opinion. Western culture's view of Eastern culture is one of the research areas that should be examined in this context. The concept used to express the researches of Western researchers or scientists on the East is called “Orientalism”. Orientalism is a concept that was formed especially in the 18th and 19th centuries and was generally used with a negative meaning. Edward Said's work on orientalism has been a turning point in terms of orientalist studies.

Edward Said called the Western culture's attempt to explain itself through Eastern culture as “Orientalism”. Said mentions that the West invented the concept of “Orientalism” for Eastern culture and that the marginalization of the East provides imperial benefits for the West (Said, 2017: 10). In this sense, Orientalism is an important key concept that should be considered and discussed. While the West explains itself socially in the position of subject; in this effort to explain, it moulds the Eastern representations into a passive society. While the West represents rationality and truth in the West-East opposition, the East is presented with an understanding that represents exoticism and savagery. The West produces ontological and epistemological distinctions by establishing domination on the East. These points of departure are included in the texts, including the Eastern representations of the West. Said uses a textual analysis method in the analysis of the discourse structured in language, in the light of the structuralist and post-structuralist tendencies of his period. Said who wants to reveal the marginalization and opposition in the texts with a discourse analysis method; he based his theories on the concepts of important figures like Antonio Gramsci, Raymond Williams, Michel Foucault and Jacques Derrida.

Mass media are tools that produce various oppositions discursively and semiotically and present them to the society. The fact that traditional mass media such as television, radio, and newspapers are still seen and used as the largest source of information by the society are effective in internalizing and spreading these oppositions. West-East opposition is also an issue to be considered at this point. The inclusiveness and marginalization of the representations and discourses in the media also show the reader / viewer who is the ruler or the other. The media shows the West as hegemonically superior by presenting ideological propositions and praises the West over the Eastern identity in terms of representation, and the orientalist discourse is internalized by the audience / reader through the media. This phenomenon, also included in the literature as self-orientalism, is a term that explains the East's view of itself from the perspective of Western discourse. Orientalism was created in line with the request of the West, but the East has also been effective in spreading this discourse. In this context, both the West and the East are partners in crime in terms of the formation of the orientalist discourse.While the West is an active founding element in the production process of media contents, the East accepts this discourse and legitimizes it by including orientalism in media representations.

Key Terms in this Chapter

BBC: British Broadcasting Corporation. A national organization which broadcasts television and radio programmes and which is paid for by the public and not by advertising.

Orientalism: In art history, literature and cultural studies, Orientalism is the imitation or depiction of aspects in the Eastern world. These depictions are usually done by writers, designers, and artists from the West.

Other: Used to refer to people or things that are additional or different to people or things that have been mentioned or are known about.

TRT: The first public officials to make public broadcasting organization in Turkey.

Self-Orientalism: Internalization of the orientalist point of view by individuals or institutions.

Media: The main ways that large numbers of people receive information and entertainment, that is television, radio, newspapers, and the internet.

Orientalist Discourse Analysis: The method by which Edward Said examines the orientalist point of view in terms of discourse.

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