By Y. Noorani

This paintings is a research of the character and beginning of nationality and glossy social beliefs within the heart East, really Egypt, within the overdue 19th to mid-twentieth centuries. Bringing jointly writings on political and social reform with literary works, Noorani demanding situations dominant assumptions in regards to the emergence of modernity. It indicates that whereas nationalist, liberal, and democratic beliefs emerged within the heart East less than eu impression, those beliefs have been however created out of present cultural values via reformers and intellectuals. The important component of this strategy, the booklet argues, used to be the transformation of advantage into nationality.

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Extra info for Culture and Hegemony in the Colonial Middle East (Palgrave Studies in Cultural and Intellectual History)

Example text

In the first part of the chapter, I argue that the classical conception of virtue as self-rule serves to justify a sovereign authority external to the ruled society. I focus particularly on the moral theory of al-Ghazali (1058–1111) and the political theory of Ibn Khaldun (1332–1406) because these theories bring out clearly and extensively the underlying logic of the concepts and doctrines of order that are pervasive in Arabic premodern discourses. In the second part of the chapter, I examine a key instance of the early representation of nationality in the political poetry of the Egyptian general, statesman and Urabist prime minister, Mahmud Sami al-Barudi (1839–1904), and more briefly, a celebrated poem by the Levantine intellectual Ibrahim al-Yaziji (1847–1906) addressed to the Arabs.

This raises the problem, however, of how reason and desire, if they are distinct and opposed in tendency and nature, are both 30 Culture and Hegemony in the Colonial Middle East properties of a single, noncompound entity. Al-Ghazali sees “the struggle against desire” (mujahadat al-hawa) as constitutive of order within the self (240). ”9 The terms “heart,” “spirit,” and “reason,” he tells us, can also be used in this sense. ” This is the self that must be “broken” or contained. The lower powers, however, are only regarded as a separate self in this manner from the perspective of their danger to seduce or overcome reason.

The internal order of the sovereign, as well as of the ruling group as a whole, comes either from reason alone, or from religion. At every stage, order is externalized as a distinct element linked to a higher power. Yet this higher power must at the same time be located within. Rule that is purely external and coercive is inimical to virtue and to courage, which enables the expression of virtue. The central, highly original feature of Ibn Khaldun’s theory is the way in which primordial human nature, in the form of group feeling, is made the origin of virtue and sovereignty on a political level, such that when the original connection to innate nature that founded the polity has withered (by a dynasty’s fourth generation), the polity must reach its demise.

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