Colonialism produced its own institutions, its own authority and its own knowledge and transformed into imperialism with an assimilation of the Algerians and a mission civilisatrice
The limits of colonial knowledge and its power
Seeing how the production of knowledge served and helped European colonialism in the previous centuries, it is also interesting to analyse the limits of this knowledge produced by those scholars. Indeed, most of the information that was spread about the Middle East at this time was inherently biased, full of prejudice and sometimes not even replicable. As a matter of fact, in Egypt, the system of calculation implemented at the beginning of the 20th century with the creation of maps by triangulation was ingenious, but turned out to be far from accurate as it was very difficult with the tools at the time to properly calculate the area. Furthermore, the shrinkage of the cardboard, the shrinkage of the map paper, the inaccurate placing of dots and the difficulty in holding the threads tight and parallel when tracing the lines meant that they were not able, after all this to measure landholdings properly and calculate the tax liabilities directly from the map. Captain Lyons, officer in charge of this project was forced to admit that even though they had spent ten years working on this, the survey had produced a knowledge of the area that was much less precise than before. Additionally, in the production of knowledge during the French colonisation of Algeria, many different theories were developed in the 1850s about the Kabyle and their representations which led to the production of a very heterogeneous knowledge often with opposed conclusion. To confirm this observation, Grossberg asserted about the work of Edward Said about the construction of Orientalism that “since the Orient and the Occident are constructions of colonial discourses they cannot exist outside of those discourses. The Orient as an object of knowledge is the product of colonial relations of power.” Which would be to say that the representation of the Orient produced by Westerners is just a mere self-portrait where the observed are eclipsed by the observer and no knowledge is actually produced.
Finally, political control required that the complexity of each society be reduced to a "learned" classification system. In so doing, the colonial state has made a major contribution to the reinvention and crystallization of the identity configurations of the societies on which it has sought to entrench its power, whether ethnic or national. Above all, it made available to the colonized societies a new kind of conceptual apparatus that some of their elites used to their advantage to be able to draw a better outline of the political and social imaginaries in the name of which the nationalist struggle against that State was subsequently waged. The colonial taxonomy was thus a double-edged sword, since it eventually served as an instrument of nationalist mobilization as well as a base for the edifice of political control in a colonial situation. In this sense, the colonial state was the starting point of its own questioning or even its disappearance.
The power of information despite its inaccuracy
But Said’s other main argument is that the veracity of the knowledge produced and used during colonialism is not very relevant, because as long as this colonial knowledge had the backing of the Western colonial powers at the time they were not questionable nor debatable. What he subjected to critical scrutiny was the discourse produced in relation to Orientalism, and the effects it had on the forms of knowledge production that provided the basis for colonial domination and rule over the the region of the Orient. In terms of resistant subjectivity to the domination provided for by Orientalism, he rigorously analysed what he described as a “technique of trouble”, that is, that without proper “reception,” effective “resistance” is not possible. And his theory can be confirmed when analysing the post colonialist/neo colonialist world we live in. The deep economic inequalities that marked the colonial era continue into the present, post colonialism highlights the continuing legacy of colonialism and imperialism. Indeed, colonial interests did not only permeate the writings of the XIXth and XXth century but in also any text written on the Orient in Europe or in the United States. Said argues that no European or American scholar can claim that his or her scholarship on the Orient is untouched by colonial power and interests. Indeed, if we look at the foreign policies implemented nowadays in superpowers such as the United States, France or the United Kingdom about the Middle East we can witness how much anti-Muslim and anti-Islam sentiment has been shaped by discourses rooted in power relations between the West and Muslim-majority regions. Islamophobia and this racism towards Arabs have been ingrained in our societies since the colonial period with most current political discourses based on texts produced by colonial powers to dominate the Orient. What Said argues is that no matter the accuracy of the information produced, if it is spread and shared by many it will become the norm and the truth.
To put in a nutshell, it is obvious to say that the production of knowledge about Middle Eastern societies has played a major role in the cultural, economic and military dominance of colonial powers in the region at the time of colonialism. Colonial knowledge became integral to the politics of empire as it provided justification to colonisation of the different nations as some sort of civilising mission. Through propaganda, the spread of false imagery or the imposition of a Western train of thought we see a direct correlation between colonisation and power with the central place of infrastructures such as the Arab Bureau in Algeria or the Société Khédiviale d'Économie Politique de Statistiques et de Législation in Egypt. Edward Said identified tropes that ran through most discourses produced by colonists such as the primacy of religion, the existence of a “Muslim mind” or the qualification of Islamic societies as tyrannical, intolerant and inflexible. Those ideas were present in most texts released and permitted Western superpower to get away with their actions more easily. Even though most information was biased and inaccurate, it did not ultimately matter as knowledge meant power and this form of knowledge was backed by the most powerful nations: the colonial power. But most importantly, the state of politics in our modern societies enable us to affirm that this colonial knowledge has not stayed in the 19th or 20th century: it has left durable legacies and most societies are today still marked by them. Colonial-era discourses influenced most of the state-building of those Middle Eastern nations whether we are talking about nationalisms, the domestic security state or the slow democratisation of those states.
 Mitchell, Timothy. Rule of Experts: Egypt, Techno-Politics, Modernity. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002. Ch. 3, “The Character of Calculability”
 Hall, S. and du Gay, P. (1996). Questions of Cultural Identity. SAGE Publications.
 Péclard, Didier. « Savoir colonial, missions chrétiennes et nationalisme en Angola », Genèses, vol. no 45, no. 4, 2001, pp. 114-133.
 Pannian, P. (2016). Edward Said and the question of subjectivity.