Observation In Accounting And Finance Tutorials Cultural Studies Essay

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"Colonialism" and "Imperialism" often used interchangeably but McLeod (2000) suggests these terms mean different things. Indeed, imperialism is defined as the "highest stage of capitalism" as the Marxist-Leninist literature (Bush, 2006), and it means "the practice, the theory, and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre ruling a distant territory"; meanwhile, colonialism normally is defined as a consequence of imperialism is the implanting of settlements of distant territory (Said, 1993).

The main features of colonialism and imperialism is the spread of influences of European empires on cultures, economics, politics in Africa and Asia in order to persuade colonised people about the superior of the Occident, and the Western world is the presence of civilisation (Fanon, 1968).


"Postcolonialism" used to express social, economical, cultural and political impacts of the colonialism in the former colonial nations. It originally employed in the "postcolonial states" term by historians after official decolonisation of colonised countries, and then in literature studies to identify literatures in the once-colonised countries such as Nigeria, India, Kenya… or independencies in the Commonwealth such as Wales, Scotland or Ireland as "postcolonial literature" ( Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin, 2007; Young, 2001; McLeod, 2000).

Postcolonial theories provide frameworks which help to criticise powerful influences of the European and later American global dominance through colonialism and imperialism on colonies (Hudson, 2003). Its critique focused on the inequality, injustice or oppression and coercive domination in fields as politics, economics, cultures, race, gender, nationalisms, class and ethnicities in the contemporary world (Young, 2001). The well known postcolonialist writers including Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, Givatri Spivak, Homi Bhabba …argue that despite the end of the empirical period, colonialism and imperialism still maintain in colonial heads and it is also clear to recognise their traces even in former colonies.


This paper will focus on Orientalism of Edward Said, which is identified as the most importantly influential on postcolonial theories and often used as a reference to postcolonial studies.

According to Orientalism (Said, 1978, 1995), the West created the fundamental view of the world as two binary division, the Orient (the East) and Occident (the West), which are positioned through construction of an unequal ditochomy (McLeod, 2000). The Occident is the reference of European countries and then America, which are considered as the centre of the world and the symbol of superior, rational, strong, masculine, beautiful, standard and civilised. They are people believe they have the right to deal with the Orient "by making statement about it, authorising views of it, describing it, teaching it, settling it and ruling it over" (Said, 1978, 1995). By contrast, the Orient is defined as the rest of the world, Middle East (West Asia and North Africa) and Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and South Asia, all of them are lumped into one category and "THEY"(the East) are different from "US"(the West). The Orient is also the symbol of inferior, irrational, weak, feminine, ugly, exotic and uncivilised.

However, the most significance in Said's study is his argument of manifest differentiation between the reality of the East and the Western Oriental imagine (McLeod, 2000). According to Said (1978, 1995: 5), "the Orient is an idea that has a history and a tradition of thought, imagery, and vocabulary that have given it reality and presence in and for West". The relationship between the Orient and the Occident is the dominating relationship, and the Western orientalists could not describe the Eastern world as their thoughts and experiences because anyway they still are foreign (Said, 1978, 1995: 5). Indeed, Said (1978, 1995: 6) believes that "Orientalism is more particularly valuable as a sign of European-Atlantic power over the Orient than it is as a veridic discourse about the Orient".

In the last part of his book, Said also claims that instead of formal independencies of many countries, the modes of the common representation to colonialism does not simply disappear, by contract, it seems still to be contributed and undeniably present in relationship between the Occident and the Orient in the contemporary world (Ashcroft, B. Griffiths, G. and Tiffin, H. 2009, McLeod, J. 2000).

Indeed, there exist arguments against Orientalism (Said, 1978, 1995) such as Dennis Porter (1983) and Ahman (1992). In his work "Orientalism and its Problems", Porter argues that Said ignores history to just look at Western views of the Orient over two millennia. Moreover, Porter criticises that Said also ignores resistance within the West, and Said's argument of "every European was a racist, an imperialist and almost totally ethnocentric is a sweeping statement. It also could be seen critics of Orientalism from Ahman (1992), he suggests that Said refuses resistance by colonies because Said does not examine how colonised people receive to Western representations on the Orient.


This part will be used to discuss about differentials in the Bradford University students' behaviours to the British tutor and the Chinese tutor and exploit reasons leading to these differentials.

First of all, I will compare behaviours of students in the classes I observed of British and Chinese tutors. My observation witnessed massive differences on students' attitudes in my tutorial group. In case of late-coming students, for the British tutor class, an Asian student and a European student did not receive a sympathy attitude from him, also it saw that they consciously recognised their own faults. However, the Chinese tutor class witnessed contrasting feelings, both late-coming students did not say excuse; by contrast, they feel their late-coming is unproblematic. Their thoughts also were encouraged by the Chinese tutor's nice attitude when she tended to look for available seats for them.

The contrasting behaviours of students in my class to Chinese and British tutors also are able to be recognised when observing the way students listen to their teaching. For British tutor, students tend to respect what he teaches. They try to ask questions as much as they could to obtain deep understandings about Accounting and Finance subject. However, it is completely contrast in the Business Economics tutorial. The Greek doubtful feelings to her explanation is an example, he seems not to believe in her knowledge, so that after her explanation it could be seen unsatisfied feelings from him.

From above analysis, it sees a prominent question "Why do there exist contrasting behaviours to an Asian tutor and a European tutor?" These differentiations are just due to individual thoughts or it is the colonial inheritances. Now it should be better to look at the interviews to discover this question.

According to the female student, she needs to pay a lot of money to come here, and knowledge is more important than money for people in this country. My question is "why did she decide to pay a lot of money to come here, instead of continuing her Master degree in a university in her own country". It may be due to her belief. She believes that the standard of the UK universities would be over universities in her own countries. She also believes that the UK is the symbol of civilisation and knowledge as well as British people always think highly of knowledge than money. Consequently, attending a Master course in the UK will be the best opportunity to approach with the standard education environment and knowledgeable professors, students and people.

However, exactly where do her beliefs come from? They seem to be influences from the colonial ideology in the past. It is what Said (1978) mentions in "Orientalism", Europe is identified as "a superior one in comparison with all the non-European people and cultures" (Said, 1978: 7). This notion did and do exist within former colonised students' minds, and it is the education legacies of colonialism living strongly on us and our institutions (Willinsky, 1998).

It should be better to look back the critics of "Orientalism" from Ahman (1992) about lack of examination on how the Oriental people react to Western representations on the Orient. From the female student's thoughts, it can be suggested that Oriental people have been massively influenced from Western imagines about themselves. They seem to be persuaded that they are less civilised than Western people, so that they need to look forward opportunities to reach to the "civilisation land".

After examining colonial legacies on thoughts of a student from once-colonised country, the following part will evaluate these effects of colonialism on the way Western students look at their Asian tutors through analysing the British student interview.

According to him, he feels the Chinese tutor seems to be afraid of students and he prefers a British tutor over her. For his first point of view, it cannot see the same argument from the Indian female student; she has not mentioned anything about the timorousness of the Chinese tutor. The feelings of the British male student seem to be colonial legacies which were considered as reflections of the system of colonial ideology on to former empires' mentality. It is imagines of the East societies without civilisation, rational, and people there are weak and often afraid of Western people who are considered as the centre of the world and they need to serve (Said, 1978, 1995). All of these belong to the system of ideas about the East societies which was criticised as "something more formidable than a mere collection of lies" (Said, 1978, 1995: 6).

The colonial inherences are clearer in his second point of view; he believes that a British tutor will help him understand the subject better than the Chinese tutor. This argument raises a question "what leads him to this thought?" He may be influenced by Western thoughts of its superior. It is clear that he rose up and was feed up by the Western system of education, where Hugo (2003) claims that most people do not consider themselves racist, yet still believe in the discredited 18th century ideas that humans are biologically divided into "races".


Bradford University students tend to express different attitudes to Asian and European teachers. European teachers receive respect from students; meanwhile, it witnesses the contrasting behaviour to Asian teachers. These differentiations are explained by students' beliefs and thoughts which were influenced by the system of colonial ideas. Students from former colonised countries tend to believe that the Western world is the symbol of civilisation and knowledge, and they need to approach it to obtain more opportunities. The European students consider their own world as superior which is contrast to the Oriental societies. They believe that Eastern people are still considering them as people at the lower position.

As argument of Crowley (1999) "None of us lives untouched by colonialism and the extraordinary ordinariness of whiteness", then it is difficult for the University of Bradford to avoid colonial legacies within its study environment. However, to reduce colonial influences, the Bradford University administration, the Graduate Office as well as UBU should organise exchange cultural meetings, in which students from countries will have chances to introduce their own country to other international friends. These activities will help students from the West as well as the East more understand of lives, cultures, customs, and histories of each other. It is believed that the barriers in thoughts and colonial effects from the past will witness a significant decline.

Indeed, the devastating colonial influences in the schooling environment are discussed by many researchers including Singh (1995); Partington (2001); Ninnes (2000) and Malin (1990). It is difficult to conclude in certain that colonial influences will appear in all schooling environment, though the details of this study still reveal the proof about the survival of colonial inheritances in the university environment, specifically in the University of Bradford.