The Thingified Subject's Resistance in the Middle East

Govand Khalid Azeez*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Colonization, I postulate, has a far more profound effect on the colonized than conceptualized in Aimé Césaire's postcolonial equation, colonization  =  thingification. Rather, here I put forward a new postcolonial equation for tracing the infinite and insidious effects of colonialism: Colonization  =  thingification + re-appropriation of subjectivity. I argue that Western imperial narratives and what Edward Said calls its ‘evaluative judgment’ and ‘implicit program of action’ also subjectify the thingified subject's Weltanschauung, cultural practices and more importantly, subjectivity. I present this equation through theorizing what I call Counter-Revolutionary Discourse (CRD). This discourse is an historicized, Eurocentric-Orientalist implicit program of action and an analytical tool, which functions as a manual that assists the colonial apparatus in surveillance, gauging, ranking and subjectifying Middle Eastern subjectivity and resistance according to imperial exigencies. Through tracking the matrix of Western statements, ideas and practices, this genealogical exploration demonstrates that imperial enthusiasts, from Napoleon, Renan, Le Bon and Stoddard to Winston Churchill and David Petraeus, in encountering Middle Eastern revolutions—from the Mahdi, Urabi, Zaghloul, Mossadegh, the PLO and the PKK to the ‘Arab Spring’—draw on four Counter-Revolutionary Discourse systems of thought, which, I argue, are responsible for interpellating Oriental subjectivity and resistance, and which I denominate as: Recrudescence of Fanaticism, Progress Fetishism, Outsourcing of Agency, and the bipolar cognitive device Revolutionary Narcissism-Red Peril.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-135
Number of pages17
JournalMiddle East Critique
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2015


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