At the heart of this book is the argument that the fact that so many post-structuralist French intellectuals have a strong ‘colonial’ connection, usually with Algeria, cannot be a coincidence. The ‘biographical’ fact that so many French intellectuals were born in or otherwise connected with French Algeria has often been noted, but it has never been theorised. Ahluwalia makes a convincing case that post-structuralism in fact has colonial and postcolonial roots. This is an important argument, and one that ‘connects’ two theoretical currents that continue to be of great interest, post-structuralism and postcolonialism.
The re-reading of what is now familiar material against the background of de-colonial struggles demonstrates the extent to which it is this new condition that prompted theory to question long-held assumptions inscribed in the European colonial enterprise. The wide-ranging discussion, ranging across authors as different as Foucault, Derrida, Fanon, Althusser, Cixous, Bourdieu and Lyotard, enables the reader to make connections that have remained unnoticed or been neglected. It also brings back into view a history of struggles, both political and theoretical, that has shaped the landscape of critique in the social sciences and humanities.
This clear and lucid discussion of important and often difficult thinkers will be widely read and widely debated by students and academics alike.
1. Introduction 2. Algeria and Colonisation 3. Sartre, Camus and Fanon 4. Derrida 5. Cixous 6. Althusser, Bourdieu, Foucault and Lyotard 7. Conclusion
‘Postcolonial Politics’ is a series that publishes books that lie at the intersection of politics and postcolonial theory. That point of intersection once barely existed; its recent emergence is enabled, first, because a new form of ‘politics’ is beginning to make its appearance. Intellectual concerns that began life as a (yet unnamed) set of theoretical interventions from scholars largely working within the ‘New Humanities’ have now begun to migrate into the realm of politics. The result is politics with a difference, with a concern for the everyday, the ephemeral, the serendipitous and the unworldly. Second, postcolonial theory has raised a new set of concerns in relation to understandings of the non-West. At first these concerns and these questions found their home in literary studies, but they were also, always, political. Edward Said’s binary of ‘Europe and its other’ introduced us to a ‘style of thought’ that was as much political as it was cultural as much about the politics of knowledge as the production of knowledge, and as much about life on the street as about a philosophy of being, A new, broader and more reflexive understanding of politics, and a new style of thinking about the non-Western world, make it possible to ‘think’ politics through postcolonial theory, and to ‘do’ postcolonial theory in a fashion which picks up on its political implications.
Postcolonial Politics attempts to pick up on these myriad trails and disruptive practices. The series aims to help us read culture politically, read ‘difference’ concretely, and to problematise our ideas of the modern, the rational and the scientific by working at the margins of a knowledge system that is still logocentric and Eurocentric. This is where a postcolonial politics hopes to offer new and fresh visions of both the postcolonial and the political.