How is Discourse Responsible for Creating Reality?

by Stefan Alijevikj on 7th April, 2016 at 1:42 PM CEST

Discourse, discursive practices, or discursive formation are terms generally used to designate the forms of representation, codes, conventions and habits of language which produce specific culturally or historically located meanings. 

Regardless how abstract the opening of this article may sound, I still thought that it is important to emphasize and inject the sense of theortic approach. As humans, we may tend to be naive towards language practices, appliance and usage, yet, it is exactly how we use language and the discourse practices, that could influence the world in which we live in. Each news media house, each web-page, blog, web-platform, each publishing house, each political party, organization or company is more or less responsible for a discursive formation that one way or another contributes to the creation of our reality. It’s language usage that could shape and influence behavior, interaction and perception among humans.  

To keep it simple, we’ll take on two additional points only, that will tackle (1) some wisdom from Edward Said, affirmed Palestine intellectual, and (2) opinion of individual challenge:Future community member. 

“They can not represent themselves; They must be represented”, is the quote from Karl Marx that opens the Orientalism (1978) of Edward Said. It is not by any accident that I recall to this opener of Edward Said - he was a Palestinian literary theoretician, professor of English, history and comparative literature at Columbia University, a well affirmed public intellectual, who was also the founder of the Post-colonial studies. 

Orientalism is much about “representation”, and the main thesis of his book was that everything what so far has been written or spoken about the Orient, regardless of which point of view (linguistic, historical or literary) - except that these describe specific context of the world, in the same time, these create it where it previously did not exist. In this manner, Said proved that discourse - as the way of presenting something - functions not only as a descriptive, but primary becomes a tool that produces a certain reality. So just think of the discursive practices around the globe when you read the terms “Islamophobia”, “migrants”, “refugees”, “migration crisis”, or even “war”, “war-torn territory”, “conflict”... and do ask yourself - How is public discourse responsible for my personal perception to these bleeding wounds of my world?

Or take the phenomenon of Islamophobia, which marks a significant uprise in the year of 2015 and continued that very trend in 2016. Would recall on C:F-er Hayley Lapalme (Canada) who has shared for Growr in December, 2015: “From my friends in Canada to the challenge:Future community, so many times over I have landed at one conclusion: Islam is a beautiful religion. As with any religion, extremists have terrorized in its name. The rhetoric around Muslims and Islam in the Western media right now is heartbreaking. And we are letting the voices of people who are scared dominate, ignite the latent fears of others, and normalize fear-based thinking.” 

So, if you feel confused by reality, if you still feel schoked after latest news from bombings in Lahore, Ankara, Istanbul, Paris, Brussels… or other hundreds places on the Middle East, pay attention to the public perception about it. Maybe the public perception near you is subject of those discursive practices that are producing disruptive and negative effect.

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Muhammad Ali Ali

Muhammad Ali Ali

Dear Stefan Alijevikj .
i always expect such a informative articles from your side,

and you are always amused me with your writing.

keep it up

12th April, 2016 @ 6:18 PM CEST

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