The Question of Methodology

The methodological question. In a previous book I gave a good deal of thought and analysis to the methodological importance f°r work in the human sciences of finding and formulating a first s t eP. a point of departure, a beginning principle.11 A major lesson I learned and tried to present was that there is no such thing as a merely given, or simply available, starting point: beginnings have to be made for each project in such a way as to enable what follows from them. Nowhere in my experience has the difficulty of this lesson been more consciously lived (with what success—or failure —I cannot really say) than in this study of Orientalism. The idea of beginning, indeed the act of beginning, necessarily involves an act of delimitation by which something is cut out of a great mass of material, separated from the mass, and made to stand for, as well as be, a starting point, a beginning; for the student of texts one such notion of inaugural delimitation is Louis Althusser's idea of the problematic, a specific determinate unity of a text, or group of texts, which is. something given rise to by analysis.12 Yet in the case of Orientalism (as opposed to the case of Marx's texts, which is what Althusser studies) there is not simply the problem of finding a point of departure, or problematic, but also the question of designating which texts, authors, and periods are the ones best suited for study.


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Books, Brochures, and Chapters>Book:  Said, Edward W. (1978), Orientalism, Retrieved on 2015-05-30
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  • Folksonomies: post modernism middle east