Marx would argue that society moves in a linear motion that is based in a Eurocentric mindset. He analyzes that history is central to class conflict between a competition of people and dominance. For example, he saw this between the bourgeois and proletariat within factories at the peak of the industrial revolution. His theory does explain the constant exploitation of workers for the benefit of becoming the ruling class. However, the theory misses a key component and aspect that explains why societies have been shaped. The missing link is individual identities and looking through different lenses to interpret other nations. To understand complex social identities, we must shift from his view to a Post-colonialism structure. In order to understand post-colonialism, the reasons behind colonialism need to be addressed.
First, Western societies try to comprehend these “other” societies. Said expresses that the West uses the term “orientalism” to discern the differences societies hold. “Orientalism” is a mythic construct that was created through texts and continuously employed through the use of movies, songs, images, etc. Prakash illuminates that the practice of “orientalism” and creating “subaltern” classes allows the West to colonialize societies. This was seen with the case of India and the practice of sati. For the Indian people sati is a tradition that is held as sacred. The West exclaimed sati as barbaric and immediately outlawed its use claiming that they were “saving” the society. As you can see, colonialism is what constructed many Eastern societies to become ideologically situated in the way that they are today. Marx never could see this because he looked at a social linear timeline, instead of realizing that societies are shaped by the past.
Post-colonialism theory argues that past nations are the reason for the ideological state apparatuses instituted. For example, as we discussed in-class today, Kenya is currently experiencing a state of uncertainty with its upcoming election. The reason is because of previous class ideologies that were instituted when they were colonized by the Western nations. The past ideologies have continued to stay in the class structure of the state. Post-colonialism clarifies that is the only reason for the unrest. It is important to remember that a nation’s history connects directly with modern day issues. Marxism’s idea of social linear motion is not accurate, what shapes future social identities is the previous history that has taken place. Through the means of “orientalism” and the creation of the “subaltern” the West has been able to implement itself into nations that are inherently different, which only will result in problems.
I think this is a really great analysis and helped me in understanding the discussion that we had in class a bit more. Thank you.