East Asian Studies Essay

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Lewis and Wigen base considerably on metageography, which is a set of particular structures that people use in expounding their knowledge relating to the world, with the structures being spatial in nature. This geography goes beyond merely considering how people are spread around the world; in stead it as well considers the epistemological representation of these structures (226). Notably, Occident refers to the Western world, majorly European countries as well as the North America.

Lately, some countries sin the Southern part of America has also been included in this category. On the other hand, countries referred to as the Orients are those located in the Eastern side of Asia. These orients are the ones being referred to as the third world or underdeveloped nations and they also include African countries, while the Western World is referred also to as the developed world. This erupted in the early part of the last century, following the Cold war (James 217).

According to Said, Orientalism refers to a particular way of regularized writing and also study, and is mainly based on varied perspectives, some ideological biases which are majorly suited to be for the subject individual known as the Orient. Moreover, orientalism way of thinking has nothing to do with neither biological generalizations nor the cultural ties, the religious as well as racial prejudices of a particular place or a group of people.

So as to clearly understand and evaluate the relationship between the Western world and the Orient world the argument here is that it is important for the scholar studying this relationship to consider studying in a more focused way and to check out the small regions that consider cultural consistency more keenly. Orientalism is concerned with the cultural representation of societies, as well as the relationship existing between power in the society and knowledge particularly in the Eastern world, that is the Asian culture.

It as well entails the way these Eastern cultures are represented by authors of books, artists as well as by designers in the Western world particularly. The other issue addressed is role played by intellectuals in the society in influencing the relationships in the society. It is important to study both the orient and the occident in integrated social contexts, neither in spiritual nor in natural contexts. Orient has to do more with human production, not nature and thus it relates to imaginative geography (Kimberly 487).

The main problems as highlighted in this chapter are such that there is a changing relationship between historical and also the cultural aspects between European countries and Asian countries. This has contributed to a state in which there is a completely un-integrated relation between them. The other problem experienced is that for a long time, there has always been a scientific approach applied in the Western world and this has been the case since the early times of 19th century in which case, there was specialization in studying cultures of the Orientals and this has played a fundamental role in the development of the tradition.

These extensive studies brought about a complete understanding of basic issues relating to the traditions of various groups of people but there was not much implementation of anything worthwhile. The world regions approach seems to be more convenient according to my analysis since it enables easy comparison as the people are categorized as a region and the regions are subdivided into several smaller components such that it is easy to tell and compare, share and improve on the cultures, economies, politics and social aspects of the region.

The Asian subcontinent has been divided up into several parts as Said highlights and this in way recognition in different ways so that just like Africa is divided in several parts just as the Asian subcontinent is. So as to alter the continental scheme so that it becomes one world region, there is need to move the boundaries. This can be done by linking areas of related similar ideas, similar lifestyles and those areas with cultural ties that are related. There appears to be a divided notion on relating to Europes borders.

Partly, cultures have been playing a main role in this categorization. Due to the existing boundaries between nations being adjustable, there has tended to be an Orient Europe and an Occident Europe. Turkey has been taken in as being in the orient Europe along with Russia. The Mongolian people, however, tend to exhibit an entirely different culture from their Occident neighbors; Islamic religion and entirely different cultures (Rhonda 227). Wigen discusses the issues relating to the categorization much vividly and I look at his arguments as being right.

He explains that despite the continental approach used in the categorization, parity remains to be an outstanding even as the country classification stands out. Japan for example, despite being in Asia, is considered to be part of the Western countries, the occidentals merely because it is a wealthy nation. This adds up to the level of biasness considered in sorting by the continental scheme or approach. World regions approach is advocated in this case since it eradicates considering the cultures merely but bases on re-engaging the various integral elements of these areas (135).

Another argument upon which Said bases is the realization that even though there is the categorization of these countries as developed and third world or occident and orient respectively, some of the cultures in entirely different parts of the world tend to look alike. An example is the culture found in South American nations, particularly Argentina, of which this culture resembles that of Western European nations exactly (James 437).

Yet at the same time, Wigen and Lewis identify the reluctance with which the so called western countries are willing to accept another of the top riding countries in the East Europe, Russia to be termed as part of them, the occident (543). It is however noted that the cultural composition of this nation is quite not so different from other European nations. It is however, due to long time association with Christian orthodox faith that is not compatible with the other European nations as well as long association with Asian countries has earned Russia exclusion from being considered as part of the Western world.

Poland too, experienced some isolation and was thereby labeled as orient at a particular time due to its strategic position next to the Eastern part of Europe. The shunning of Russia for example, as part of the European countries, instead being classified as the East has been expressed since the time when most European writers were referring to Russia, along with Poland and Scandinavian countries as belonging to the rugged north while the rest of the European countries were labeled as belonging to the refined south (Denise 197).

The fact that there exist flexible boundaries between countries means that, at any time, these boundaries can be easily adjusted to include some countries ore otherwise. The application of the continental scheme and encouragement t of this system is quite problematic as it leads to a feeling of separation and being despised as Russia and Poland experienced along with the Scandinavian countries. This could lead to countries being at locker-heads with one another; hence it could lead to total disintegration of the different regions in the world (Wigen and Lewis 234).

Most readers are likely to get dissatisfied with the new way of categorizing by using, not continents to group people, countries and cultures but by use of world regions in which case there will be classification only basing on the regions of the nations, people and cultures. This categorization however, has the advantage of not discriminating nations and cultures based on a countrys classification, as being either developed and West or as belonging to the East, Orient.

This categorization will bring nations together as Wigen notes, since there is the feeling of countries being in regions, equal economic and social treatment rather than the situation of some countries feeling left out and others feeling as being much more important due to their economic alignments. The world is divided into different geographical units in the world regional approach according to Wigen and Lewis. Somehow, politics plays an influence in deciding these regions. Usually, there is division of these regions into sub-regions such as dividing Asia into many other smaller sections.

Most institutions in USA, particularly colleges and universities, took on this world region kind of approach hence the categorization was not based on the economic, cultural, geographical placement of the institution as these were al located in the same region. Up to-date, this applies. North Africa was for example, categorized as being part of the Middle East until the colonialist came, when it was redrawn politically to be in Africa hence these countries remain to be counted among the Third World countries based on the continental geographical approach.

Renaissance, there were many of these world divisions and categories but as colonization came up, these were all destroyed, leaving them to divide the areas afresh (Michael 654). In a typical application of the world regional approach, a certain author notably comes up with the abbreviation SWANA, to mean South West Asia-North Africa. This is an excellent example in which there is application of the world regions approach. These two regions, lying in two different continents, are compared as having the same characteristics.

This is not so much only based on the environmental condition of these two regions as being the same; dry. It has to do also with the special linkage between the two regions; Islamic and Arab. These last two factors hold more weight than merely their climatic conditions being the same, and bring these two regions together much closer (Douglas 321). Basing the categorization of where to place a country on continent is misleading as for example, considering the case of Asia, the climatic condition has played an important role in deciding where a country is classified and it still remains to be confusing.

For example, Siberia is one country located in central Europe. Within this particular region, there is a vast variation of the climatic conditions with the Northern part having an entirely different climatic very different from the Southern part, from the central, eastern and western part of the same region experience a varied climate hence merely basing the categorization of the regions based on such factors is confusing and biased as Lewis and Wigen reveal in their argument.

As a shortcoming of this framework, it is argued in chapter six that world regions are much better a way of describing areas in the world cultures as compared to using continents which are biased as they readily close down on who comes from where and hence they are easily categorized basing on their skin and culture. However, it is also evident that this is a very inappropriate way of categorizing as most of the readers are not satisfied with this system as they cant be able to recognize the various areas and locations that they have always known by the former categorization.

Also, basing on world region system is problematic as it is heavily influenced by the myths of what is considered to be the nation-state and also the issue of geographical determinism. Also, there remains to be prone to the geographical tradition of Europe which is majorly self-centered (Margaret 345). Conclusion The current geographical framework in use in the world is that which was redrawn by colonialists after they did away with the earlier framework that was more of region based.

There was as well an element of domination by these colonial powers, all of them coming from the occident European group, in the way these colonial power obtained, redistributed the resources of the countries they ruled after conquering the armies of other nations. This redistribution of resources has brought about the difference in economic balance of the world hence as these nations did this, they brought about serious imbalance in the economic status of the world.

World regional framework as Wigen argues proves to be in a position to bring in a total integration and balance in the world. The present geographical lines have facilitated the growth of the trend between rich nations and poor ones, called third world, as Lewis and Wigen explain. It can be seen that the more these countries accumulate wealth, the more other nations in the Third world tend to wallow in absolute poverty (Fleming123). It is quite obvious that European-initiated frameworks are more likely to fail in non-European contexts.

This goes with the inappropriateness of these frameworks depending on the nature of the place, outside Europe. This remains to be an area of challenge and requires more research to come up with a conclusive solution. Also, there are some areas which tend to be bigger than a country yet they are much smaller than a continent, such as Central America and the Southern Cone. It remains a task to tell whether these areas have once been under the world region framework or whether before colonization or whether they have always been in continental convention.It hence becomes very hard to just decide that world region convention is to be applied (William 208).

Works Cited

Denise, M. Development and Economic Co-operation. New York: Chelsea, 2003. Douglas, A. Illustrated annotated: The history of Turkey. Greenwood Press, 2001. Michael, J. Social and political Science: American Academy Annals. Michigan University, 2007. Margaret, D. International Fund Monetary: Adjustment Balance of Payments. New York: Pocket, 1987. Fleming, T. The Political American Revolution. New York: Viking,1996.

Kimberly, S. A Political and Military Appraisal. Bedford/St. Martins Publishers. New York: Pocket, 2007. James, M. Peace-keeping Operations: A Political and Military Appraisal. California University: Berkeley 1971. Rhonda, K. The Middle East: A Survey and Directory of the Countries. Michigan University: Middle East, 2008. Wigen, and Lewis, K. British Political Library & Economic Science Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1993. William, E. Political speeches: A Political and Military Appraisal Scotland, Oxford University, 2007.

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