On Saidian postcolonialism: the Middle East between culture, capital and class

Govand Khalid Azeez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Middle East finds itself plagued by imperial and civil wars, capital ravaging and plundering its societies, dictatorships and plutocracies, the migration catastrophe, ecological crises, the rise of various forms of fundamentalism and unimaginable poverty and inequality. Yet, today we find that, to borrow from Marx, the ‘arm of criticism’ has been hijacked by a cohort of postmodern-postcolonialist Saidians, who are unwilling or unable to provide an appropriate prognosis for these fundamental political and economic problems. Moved by cultural relativism, identitarianism, pathological religiosity, ad hominem logicality and postmodern epistemological nihilism, this epistemico-political faction has redirected scholarly critique in the region from an examination of class and private property to identity politics. Fetishising ‘alterity’, ‘hybridity’ and ‘Otherness’, dismissing the idea of a radical-truth that links the particular to the universal and impossibilizing a world beyond capital and the state, this worldview whilst always radical in tone manufactures a set of domesticated and interpellated subjectivities. Following the tradition of radical emancipatory and egalitarian positions of European and ‘Third World’ thinkers, this paper argues for a return to revolutionary universal politics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-142
Number of pages20
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Capital
  • Class
  • Cultural Relativism
  • Islamophobia
  • Middle East
  • Post Colonialism


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