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Postcolonial Resistance

Postcolonial Resistance: Culture, Liberation, and Transformation

Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 255
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  • Book Info
    Postcolonial Resistance
    Book Description:

    Despite being central to the project of postcolonialism, the concept of resistance has received only limited theoretical examination. Writers such as Frantz Fanon, Edward Said, and Homi K. Bhabha have explored instances of revolt, opposition, or subversion, but there has been insufficient critical analysis of the concept of resistance, particularly as it relates to liberation or social and cultural transformation. InPostcolonial Resistance, David Jefferess looks to redress this critical imbalance.

    Jefferess argues that interpreting resistance, as these critics have done, as either acts of opposition or practices of subversion is insufficient. He discerns in the existing critical literature an alternate paradigm for postcolonial politics, and through close analyses of the work of Mohandas Gandhi and the South African reconciliation project,Postcolonial Resistanceseeks to redefine resistance to reconnect an analysis of colonial discourse to material structures of colonial exploitation and inequality. Engaging works of postcolonial fiction, literary criticism, historiography, and cultural theory, Jefferess conceives of resistance and reconciliation as dependent upon the transformation of both the colonial subject and the antagonistic nature of colonial power. In doing so, he reframes postcolonial conceptions of resistance, violence, and liberation, thus inviting future scholarship in the field to reconsider past conceptualizations of political power and opposition to that power.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-8884-1
    Subjects: Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Postcolonialism and Resistance
    (pp. 3-22)

    The idea of ‘resistance’ provides a primary framework for the critical project of postcolonialism. Resistance is a continual referent and at least implicit locus of much postcolonial criticism and theory, particularly in terms of the analysis of the failure, or deferral, of liberation in Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. On the one hand, this emphasis upon resistance limits the purview of (post) colonial experience, in that it ‘denies any other kind of life to the people doing the resisting.’¹ Yet, the concept of resistance functions as an amorphous concept in postcolonial studies, identifying a diverse range of modes, practices,...

  5. 1 Colonial Discourse/Power and ‘Spectacular Resistance’
    (pp. 23-56)

    J.M. Coetzee begins his novelWaiting for the Barbarians(1980) with the interrogation of a suspected ‘barbarian’ spy by the ‘Third Bureau’ and rumours of an impending ‘barbarian’ attack on an administrative outpost of an unnamed and time unspecific Empire. In this allegory of imperial governance and culture, Coetzee portrays colonial confinement, both in terms of overt forms of repression – such as the imprisonment and torture of suspected ‘barbarian’ insurgents, as well as of the outpost’s oppositional magistrate – and in terms of the way colonial discourse limits the imagination. The ‘barbarians,’ who the narrating magistrate characterizes as ignorant, slovenly, and...

  6. 2 Opposition and the (Im)Possibility of Liberation
    (pp. 57-94)

    For many critics of postcolonial theory, the emergence of colonial discourse theory has shifted attention away from the materialist concerns of the economic and political forms and effects of colonialism to concerns of discourse, language, and identity. Postcolonial theory has seemingly reduced colonialism to a cultural project, eliding its material impacts on colonized peoples and, more importantly, its role within the emergence of capitalism globally, both as an ideology and as a structure of material relationships. Significantly, the work of Frantz Fanon has been central to both the colonial discourse analysis of theorists such as Homi K. Bhabha as well...

  7. 3 Gandhism and Resistance: Transforming India
    (pp. 95-135)

    Mohandas Gandhi and the practical implementation of his ethic of nonviolence had a profound role in unifying the peoples of India in the struggle for independence. As Partha Chatterjee contends, Gandhian ideology had a monumental historical impact on the evolution of Indian politics, indeed providing the ‘ideological basis for including the whole people within the political nation.’¹ Similarly, Aijaz Ahmad notes that ‘few political leaders anywhere in the modern world have commanded such hegemonic power over the social visions and even the spiritual life of so many people, as did Gandhi alone.’² Of course, Gandhi, the political leader, or this...

  8. 4 Reconciliation as Resistance: Transforming South Africa
    (pp. 136-178)

    South African cultural production, from song, to poetry, to the novel, provided a prominent mode of fostering communities of opposition to the apartheid government. As much as oppositional literature or song provided representations of power from the perspective of the oppressed, however, it also often reinscribed the discursive construction of power and identity of apartheid (colonial) rule.¹ During the apartheid era, literary production challenged colonial authority and participated in the production of counter-narratives of South African identity. Many writers and artists were imprisoned or forced into exile. Alongside the rise of the Black Consciousness movement in the 1970s, a genre...

  9. Conclusion: Postcolonialism and Transformation
    (pp. 179-186)

    In ‘Tragedy and Revolution,’ Raymond Williams theorizes revolution as a politics of fostering human community. Specifically, he emphasizes that the recognition of the Other as human constitutes the ‘impulse of any genuine revolution.’¹ Published in 1966, just after Fanon’sThe Wretched of the Earth, the essay takes part in the attempt by intellectuals of the period to make sense of the radical social and political movements, both in what would come to be known as the global south, and particularly Africa, as well as in Europe and the United States. However, the appeal to ‘humanity’ in both Williams and Fanon...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 187-212)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 213-224)
  12. Index
    (pp. 225-240)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 241-241)