A word of caution on Eurocentrism critiques: Orientalism or Universalism?
Keywords:Eurocentrism, International Relations, Globalization, Orientalism, Homegrown Theory
Eurocentrism is criticized in many academic fields, such as International Relations, History, and many other social science fields. Over the last decades, numerous scholars demonstrated relationships between inequalities and Eurocentric approaches towards many regional studies. Many scholars whose origins are from the Middle East have cited postcolonial literature, such as Said’s criticism of Orientalism, as examples of dominant Euro-centric perspectives. Others cited problems of dominant perspectives in social sciences of being Euro-centric, notably, Wallerstein (1997). Therefore, Eurocentric view, narrowing alternativist perspectives can become a problem in the aimed universality. This article does not intend to criticize the critiques of Euro-centric perspectives but rather caution on pitfalls of reactionary approaches to Eurocentric malaise. The discussion is centered on rhetoric that often criticizes Orientalism, to the expense of not contributing viable alternatives to social development. The article takes a threefold approach. First, Euro-centrism in IR, particularly IR Theory, and mainstream History and Social Sciences, in general, are discussed. The second part focuses on Orientalism and Postcolonial literature and warns on reactionary pitfalls. The third part emphasizes the importance of universalism in literature, arts, and sciences. In order to emphasize universalism, the difference of authors such as Amin Maalouf is provided as examples of those who raised awareness and alternative perspectives from the MENA regions without necessarily taking a reactionary approach. The conclusion discusses the analysis and makes recommendations.
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