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Title: Frantz Fanon, colonialism and Algeria : the historical formation of a radical discourse
Author: Davies, David Cornelson.
Awarding Body: University of Brighton
Current Institution: University of Brighton
Date of Award: 2004
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Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) was a Martiniquan/Algerian psychiatrist and revolutionary, whose theoretical work provided a multi-dimensional analysis of colonialism, racism, violence and culture in the Third World. This work derived from the colonial situations that he experienced in Martinique, France, Algeria, and Africa. Postcolonialists, and others, have neglected the colonial formation of this radical discourse as they moved away-from the specific characteristics, histories, and cultures of colonial locations. This study argues that Fanon's thought could only be properly understood in the context of a knowledge of such locations. The study investigates selected concepts of mystification in Fanon's final work, Les damm!Js de la terre (The Damned). The concepts of the magical superstructure, the pathology of atmosphere, and the seeds of decomposition were a culmination of Fanon's thought on alienation in the colonised world. To understand the context of the concepts involves a dual focus on the formative experiences in Fanon's life, and the developments in his linguistic output. The thesis demonstrates that his colonised experiences on Martinique established a pattern of anti-colonial thought and practice. However, it was Algeria that was decisive for his radicalisation, and his political engagement. These locations are analysed in this study mainly through Third World sources, a further specification of the individuality of their circumstances. The contextualisation of Fanon's theories is continued with a study of his language, and its plural conjuncture of medical, psychoanalytical, political, sociological and literary registers.His developing conceptualisation of colonised mystification is also traced through a genealogy of the language of his texts. This groundwork in history, and language prepares the way for a detailed analysis of Les damnes de la terre, and thus the placing of the selected concepts within the overall argument of the book. The concepts of Fanon's final work reconfigured the colonial spaces of the Third World, going beyond their rooting in Algerian realities. This thesis argues that they provided a prescient analysis of the dangers facing the colonised as they entered the world of decolonisation, and neo-colonialism. The relevance of the concepts to the contemporary situation in Algeria, Afghanistan, and Iraq is set in the context of Islamist and other Third World appropriations of Fanon's work. The suggestions for future research, on Fanon and colonialism, stress the need for engagement with Third World historical locations on their own terms.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available