What is ‘Postcolonial’?

Simone Bignall

in Postcolonial Agency

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print May 2010 | ISBN: 9780748639434
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671878 | DOI:
What is ‘Postcolonial’?

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Chapter 6 considers the content of the notion of the ‘postcolonial’ in more detail, and in relation to the notion of the subject that was developed in previous chapters. Drawing from Foucault's writing on Enlightenment and ‘attitude’, postcolonialism is described as a mode of social performance, involving the actualisation of complex social relationships structured through practice by an ethical orientation towards others. More precisely, postcolonial society results from a chosen practice of desire as a styling force of complex social assemblage. This performance of desire or association materialises as the institutions, discourses and structures of postcolonial society. Causal desire is here described in terms of a particular attitude of ‘listening respect’ resulting in a certain ‘politics of friendship’ that positions individuals in relations of postcolonial sociability. Some key features and effects of this postcolonial attitude are defined and discussed to explain how this type of desiring-disposition potentially operates as a cause of the actualisation of postcolonial society. The final part of this chapter considers some material and institutional implications of the notion of the postcolonial that has been developed in this chapter.

Keywords: Foucault; Enlightenment; postcolonialism; attitude; politics of friendship; assemblage; affectivity; listening; causal desire; postcolonial institutions

Chapter.  15758 words. 

Subjects: Social and Political Philosophy

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