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August 04 , 2010

Orientalism and Conspiracy

Politics and Conspiracy Theory in the Islamic World


The relationship between Islam and the West has frequently been subject to misunderstanding and mistrust and recent events in the international arena have only deepened this perceived divide, culturally and politically. The West often views the Islamic world - and the Islamic world the West - through a prism of mutual suspicion. In such conditions conspiracy theories can flourish on both sides of the cultural fence, but these highly complex and important global phenomena have been the subject of surprisingly little investigation. Orientalism and Conspiracy explores fully for the first time the relationship between the sometimes controversial concept of Orientalism, as developed by Edward Said, and contemporary conspiracy theories, and includes Robert Irwin's fascinating survey of the role of secret societies in orientalist mythology. Through their systematic investigation, the book aims to promote a better understanding of conspiracy theories in Islamic societies. Arguing that conspiracy theories usually promote particular ideologies and reduce complex political or social issues to a simplistic picture, Orientalism and Conspiracy offers an analytical tool to understand the mechanisms behind them. Conspiracy theories play an increasingly significant role in modern society, especially with the advent of new distributive media in the form of the internet, but they are still very little understood, especially within an Islamic context. Orientalism and Conspiracy reviews the concept of the Islamic conspiracy theory through theoretical, historical and contemporary models. It delivers a series of wide-ranging investigations into the existence of the Eastern conspiracy theory - how and why they begin, their dissemination, and their potential consequences. Orientalism and Conspiracy offers a comprehensive and ground-breaking study of the conspiracy theory and Islam. It is essential reading for those seeking to understand historical and contemporary relationships between the East and West as well as the enduring and controversial legacy of the concept of Orientalism.
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