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Fanonian ambivalence: on psychoanalysis and postcolonial critique

Hook, Derek and Truscott, Ross (2013) Fanonian ambivalence: on psychoanalysis and postcolonial critique. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, 33 (3). pp. 155-169. ISSN 1068-8471

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In this article the place of psychoanalysis in thinking about postcolonial subjectivities is considered, and reference is made to the contemporary South African situation. The article is divided into two sections. First, it is shown that, with its attention to the unconscious, to the past and its disguised repetition, psychoanalysis is especially attuned to the displaced routes of colonial desire after the end of official colonial (or apartheid) rule. The second section then considers Frantz Fanon’s strategic deployment of psychoanalysis, focusing on the way Fanon reworked key psychoanalytic concepts in Black Skin, White Masks, emphasizing what he referred to as “sociogeny,” the way colonial neuroses are produced out of an internalization—or “epidermalization” in Fanon’s terms—of racist social structure. The argument made is that psychoanalysis must, if it is to be a part of a critical frame for postcolonial subjectivities, be rendered not only instrument but also object of analysis, a part of the very social structure toward which Fanon shifted his attention. Psychoanalysis is adept at throwing into relief repetitions of the colonial past. Nonetheless, psychoanalytic thinking, pervasive in a postapartheid context—that is, not simply at the isolated level of clinical or scholarly practice, but as a discursive lens for engagements with the South African national past, as exemplified in the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission—emerges as itself a particular kind of acting out the colonial past at an epistemological level

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2013 American Psychological Association
Divisions: Psychological and Behavioural Science
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2014 14:26
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 00:48

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