Från paradox till dilemma : Frantz Fanon om det språkliga våldet och den rasistiska retoriken
This paper aims to explore those yet relatively unexplored dimensions of Frantz Fanons (1925-1961) authorship. Fanon, known to the world as a theorist of violence and revolution, was one of the first to ever map the language of the colonizer. The language of the colonizer was, as Fanon would have it, imbued with different notions of time, constructions of historicity and ideological principles of individuality that would dehumanize the colonial subjects. In line with that the colonizer would also speak of the colonized people in what Fanon called zoological terms. From within those different notions emerged a racist rhetoric consistent of, to quote Richard Delgado, words that wounded. These words, to also quote Fanon, inflicted and imposed self-hatred and inferiority-complex within the colonial subjects. The different rhetorical maneuvers that Fanon identified created a paradox that both opened up to anti-colonial resistance and, in line with the paradox itself, provided resistance to the same opposition it fed. Fanons two great works, Peau noire, masques blancs (1952) and Les Damnés de la Terre (1961) will be read in the light of that complexity. The guiding questions of this paper therefore focus on Fanons notions of language in general and the language of the colonizer in particular. A theoretical point of departure is that Fanon will expose what basic rhetorical operations are at work within the context of racist rhetoric.
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