Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau Through Fanon by Jane Anna Gordon

By Jane Anna Gordon

Could creolization provide political concept an procedure that will higher replicate the heterogeneity of political existence? in spite of everything, it describes combos that weren't alleged to have emerged within the plantation societies of the Caribbean yet did so via their skill to exemplify dwelling tradition, proposal, and political perform. comparable approaches proceed at the present time, while those who as soon as have been strangers locate themselves unequal co-occupants of latest political destinations they either search to name "home." not like multiculturalism, during which diverse cultures are concept to co-exist fairly individually, creolization describes how humans reinterpret themselves via interplay with each other. whereas indebted to comparative political conception, Gordon deals a critique of comparability by way of demonstrating the generative ability of creolizing methodologies. She does so through bringing jointly the eighteenth-century progressive Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the twentieth-century Martinican-born Algerian liberationist Frantz Fanon. whereas either provocatively challenged even if we will examine the realm in ways in which don't reproduction the prejudices that maintain its inequalities, Fanon, she argues, defined a imaginative and prescient of ways to convey into being the democratically valid possible choices that Rousseau more often than not imagined.

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Extra resources for Creolizing Political Theory: Reading Rousseau Through Fanon (Just Ideas: Transformative Ideals of Justice in Ethical and Political Thought)

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Indb 36 12/2/13 9:26:51 AM Delegitimating Decadent Inquiry 37 and how to ascertain the credibility of the political insights he was outlining. Repeating what was frequently stated in his own day, he affirmed that one does not become wise through reading books but by reading men. This was a more difficult feat than was commonly assumed, however: It was not enough to observe those around one and to show one’s “wisdom” in disparaging them. Instead it was best achieved by taking pains to read oneself. Hobbes emphasized that he was not here echoing the challenging way that “reading oneself ” was usually invoked—by emboldened men to their social and political “betters”—but by studying one’s own thoughts, emotions and passions in a range of circumstances to gauge the reactions of others in similar and slightly modified predicaments.

In other words, people are rewarded for being talented rather than virtuous; eloquent rather than useful; pleasant rather than good. Wise men who might have had their virtue enlivened and made advantageous to society, therefore instead allow it to languish with the result that one has societies with specialists of all varieties, whether chemists or painters, but no citizens. The few who remain live in the abandoned countryside, indigent and despised, producing bread and milk, daily sustenance, for others.

If for Rousseau, it was difficult for work in the arts and sciences to be anything but an expression of extreme decadence, for Fanon, they lent scientific credibility to colonial relations. From there, we turn to a discussion of Rousseau’s general will and to Fanon’s national consciousness, closing with a discussion of how the relationship between Rousseau and Fanon that I have undertaken is an example of creolization. I conclude with some suggestions about the broader applicability of creolization to discussions of comparative political theory and methods in political science at large.

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