For Michel Foucault, those in position of power dominate the production of knowledge; they determine epistemological position. For Edward Said, the discourse in the West on the East has been determined by the West’s position of power over the East. The Subaltern Studies group completed the work of Said and reclaimed their history. They wanted to retake history for the underclasses; the voices of those who had never been heard before, such as peasants, women workers and what Said calls the “other”, but not the elites and the Eurocentric bias of current colonial and imperial history. In the same respect, Said claimed that “every European, in what he could say about the Orient, was. . . a racist, an imperialist, and almost totally ethnocentric.” Ergo, the argument about discourse, power, and knowledge as outlined in Michel Foucault’s work was adopted by Edward Said in his seminal Orientalism. The Subaltern studies group attempts to do work that Said identifies as needed: the retrieval of history lost in hegemonic violence. In this essay, I will discuss the narration of history through Michael Foucault’s lens. Then, I will analyze how Said was influenced by Foucault’s arguments on the relationship between power and knowledge and the concept of discourse. Finally, I will explore how Subaltern Studies group would provide a different narration of history that voices their perspective regarding major historical events—a perspective that has been previously ignored by those in power.
In the late twentieth century, the Middle East has witnessed a rise of Arab nationalism and a resurgence of Islamic wave that is prominent in both its strength and scope. After being known as “the Switzerland of the Middle East”, Lebanon plunged into the law of the jungle. More specifically, the Islamic movement became the powerful resistance to the existent order, politically and socially that undermine the Lebanese state’s sovereignty. A Shiite movement such as Hezbollah in Lebanon is a clear example of this phenomenon. In the rural region of South Lebanon, 85% of the Shiites were over-represented among the poor working classes. Hezbollah began by the transition from groundwork preparation and being marginalized to not only having an organized institution based on norms and rules but also its members serve in both legislature and the cabinet, while simultaneously maintaining an armed militia. In this paper I will analyze what is particular about Hezbollah and what are the circumstances that made it possible for Hezbollah to become a local, regional and international player in the political arena. I will discuss the historical dynamics of the ‘Party of God’ emergence locally, regionally and internationally and its ideology.
The compatibility of Islam and Democracy is an issue that has been recently questioned by today’s society, given the situation in which we are currently immersed. Even though for the last fifty years one hundred countries in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the rest of the world have adopted a democratic model, there are certain countries mainly located in the Middle East and Africa that have failed to join these waves of democratization. These countries happen to have a dominant Muslim population, which is the reason why the compatibility of Islam and democracy is put into question.