07 July 2016


'Towards the Rehabilitation of a Symbolic Account of Justice' by John R. Morss comments
Orientalism in Edward Said’s account has functioned to blinker Western consciousness about its own place in the world as well as the place of others. The breadth and the depth of Orientalism for Said needs to be recognised and in some senses respected in order that it may be gradually unpicked from the contemporary imagination. The more florid of the products of Orientalism, such as the breathtaking statements about ‘the Eastern mind’ or ‘the Arab world’ so confidently asserted by generations of expert Orientalists, are not too difficult to identify and to repudiate. Similarly, many aspects of law are patently egocentric and discriminatory and to the extent of that visibility, are fairly easily identified as such even if remediation is not always so easy. But it is the less patent effects of Orientalism that most concern Said and likewise, any value for an Orientalist perspective on law must go beyond the obvious. The revelations about ‘ourselves’ must be challenging if they are to be relevant. It may be that one may replace ‘East’ with ‘Law’ without absurdity and perhaps without incoherence. This would be one of many possible ways of treating our understanding of the legal, like our understanding of the ‘East,’ as a mediated and motivated construction.