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Roland Barthes vs. Edward Said
It might seem from the first glance that Roland Barthes and Edward Said are talking about completely different things that do not refer to each other, but it is not true at all. Both of them are talking about the same things only they ways of explanation are different.
Roland Barthes in his work “Myth Today” is explaining how different meanings are created during the history of the world and during the development of people mind, for the same things. His theories are based mainly on myth as a type of speech and by speech he doesn’t mean only actual oral speech, but every “language” that has had special conditions to become a myth and it can be a photography, a written word, cinema, shows and many other things that are known to people mind and represent some ideas and common understandings. He claims that even objects can become a speech, if they mean something. Barthes bases on theory about The Signifier and Signified, basically he continues theories of Saussure about signs.
Edward Said from the other hand in his work “Orientalism” talks about how Western societies try to describe and portrait Eastern society. He accents that even though Western societies try to explain the differences between societies in Eastern part of the world it still creates even bigger gap between these two sides, because mostly Eastern society is portrayed as The Other, by meaning that it is something opposite from Western culture, by that meaning as well that it might be wrong and unacceptable. He claims that Western society creates a wrong impression about Eastern cultures for example Said has said: “Saudi college student studying in the US might return to Saudi Arabia with a retranslated notion about himself that is situated within Western Orientalist discourse.” As it is seen from the quote Said thought that not only Western people are influenced by wrong assumptions about Eastern societies, but even representators of Eastern society who interact with Western opinion about East as The Others might create wrong impression in his/her mind about his/her own culture.
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