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Revisiting Binarism: Hollywood’s Representation of Arabs

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This article throws into relief the tropes by which Hollywood has come to churn out identical Arabs bent on destruction, yet ones that need to be salvaged. However, the salvation process is never complete(d) because the Arabs are not worthy of redemption, which sinks them further into the abyss of darkness. The representation of Arabs in Hollywood movies mostly aims at disseminating a stereotypical image that demeaningly homogenizes their cultures and identities. Hollywood here participates in a process of imperial hegemony. The repetition in producing such imagined culture of Arabs and Muslims is seen as a hegemonic act of naturalizing orientalist ideologies that tend to over-idealize the Western culture and relegate the Eastern counterpart. In this light, this article attempts to deconstruct the visual representations (ideologies) produced to malign and vilify Arabs in Hollywood movies. Such movies are always premised upon a structure of binary oppositions that establish a motion picture of a civilized center dominating the margins, the so-called uncivilized subjects.


International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences (Volume 83)
C. Chahdi, "Revisiting Binarism: Hollywood’s Representation of Arabs", International Letters of Social and Humanistic Sciences, Vol. 83, pp. 19-30, 2018
Online since:
August 2018

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