Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
3Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
Black Skin White Mask

Black Skin White Mask

Ratings: (0)|Views: 267|Likes:

More info:

Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Mosi Ngozi (fka) james harris on Jan 13, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

07/30/2013

pdf

text

original

 
 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , V, S
 
PECIAL
 D
 
OUBLE
 -I
 
SSUE
 , S
 
UMMER
 2007, 71-8271
 
H
 
UMAN
 
A
 
RCHITECTURE
 
: J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 
S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 
S
 
ELF
 
-K
 
NOWLEDGE
 
ISSN: 1540-5699. © Copyright by Ahead Publishing House (imprint: Okcir Press). All Rights Reserved.
 HUMANARCHITECTURE
 JournaloftheSociology ofSelf-
 
A Publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics)
  Errors in the detail must thus be ex- plained by analyzing the colonial mind rather than the ‘mentalityof the Mal-agasy.
 —O. MannoniIn chapter four of his
Peau noire, mas-ques blancs (Black Skin, White Masks)
 , FrantzFanon criticizes Octave Mannoni’s
Prosperoand Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization
 .Mannoni’s book preceded Fanon’s by sev-eral years (1950, 1952). It was written in theaftermath of a 1947 rebellion by the Mala-gasy against the French colonizers and thecolonial government. The French responsehad been brutal. Fanon (84) says 80,000,and Maurice Bloch (v) says “nearly100,000,” Malagasy were killed. Mannoni“head of the information services of the col-ony” (Bloch v), as well as an “ethnologist”had lived in Madagascar since 1925 (Lane131). By 1947 he had returned to the islandafter a three month sojourn in France wherein 1945 “he had begun analysis with[Jacques] Lacan” (Lane 131). In his
rst Au-
Philip Chassler, Ph.D., is a Lecturer in the American Studies Department at The University of Massachu-setts Boston. His interest in Fanon goes back to the 1960s; his interest in Mannoni was inspired by follow-ing up a quotation from Mannoni in Richard Wright’s last novel,
The Long Dream
. From the author:Citations in this article are from the French edition of 
Peau noire, masques blancs
. Translations are mine. Per-mission to quote from copyrighted material (1990) in
Prospero and Caliban
has been granted by the Univer-sity of Michigan Press. I have not consulted a French edition.
 Reading Mannoni’s
Prospero and Caliban
Before Reading
Black Skin, White Masks
Philip Chassler
University of Massachusetts Boston
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
philip.chassler@umb.edu
Abstract:
In chapter four of his
Peau noire, masques blancs
(
 Black Skin, White Masks
) (1952), FrantzFanon criticizes Octave Mannoni’s
Prospero and Caliban: The Psychology of Colonization
(1950). Thisarticle argues that Mannoni’s book presents a more cogent examination of European coloniza-tion than either Fanon or most subsequent critics suggest. A result of Mannoni’s explorations inpsychoanalysis after twenty years of residence and work as a colonial functionary in French con-trolled Madagascar, his book needs to be read as a critique of European colonialism. Although heis best known for his application of the terms “dependency” and “inferiority” to the consider-ation of the effects of colonization on its victims, I argue that Mannoni’s more meaningfulpremise is that colonization can be described and understood as a process of psychological pro- jection—that it is the European, who goes forth seeking compensation for the “inferiority com-plex” that accompanies the struggle of the autonomous individual typical of modern Europeansociety and who then “projects” his desires and fears on the people he colonizes. This results inrelationships that lead to the racism, exploitation, and violence that characterize colonization.This article examines this premise while responding to and reconsidering Fanon’s, and others’,readings of Mannoni’s book.
 
 72P
 
HILIP
 C
 
HASSLER
 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , V, S
 
PECIAL
 D
 
OUBLE
 -I
 
SSUE
 , S
 
UMMER
 2007
 thors Note to the English translation, Man-noni recalls: “I had interrupted this analysisto make a further short stay in Madagascarwhen the 1947 rebellion broke out. A veilwas torn aside and for a brief moment aburst of dazzling light enabled one to verifythe series of intuitions one had not dared tobelieve in” (5-6). His “intuitions” led him toconsider all that he had learned in Mada-gascar in retrospect of the rebellion. In hisIntroduction, Mannoni writes, “…I becamepreoccupied with my search for an under-standing of my own self, as being an essen-tial preliminary for all research in thesphere of colonial affairs” (34). His studywas not to be a political tract or an analysisof economic exploitation, rather his book isan extended mediation on his insightsabout himself learned from psychoanalysisand the application of those insights to hisexperiences in Madagascar. The result is abook that differs from what its critics, in-cluding Fanon, say it is.Fanon tells us he had looked forward toMannoni’s book after the appearance of several of his articles on colonial relationsin a Francophone journal
Psyché 
 . Followingrespectful remarks about Mannoni, helaunches into a critique of Mannoni’s anal-ysis of relations between French Colonizersand their Malagasy subjects. Fanon’s chap-ter title, “The So-Called Dependency Com-plex of the Colonized,” expresses theskepticism, perhaps the animus, withwhich he approaches Mannoni’s book. Tocharacterize his ambiguous argument in afew of his own words, Fanon suggests thatbecause Mannoni has lost the “real” per-spective on these relations, his psychologi-cal analysis misses their “true coordinates”(67). His chapter concludes: “…Mannoniseems to us to be unquali
ed to draw theleast conclusion concerning the situation,the problems, or the possibilities of indige-nous peoples [“autochthones”] at the cur-rent time” (87). Before detailing hiscomplaints, Fanon tempers his criticism.He credits Mannoni with going beyond the“objective conditions” of colonization toconsider the attitudes of its victims and of its perpetrators and with identifying thecon
ict between the two as a pathology(68). This ambivalence toward
Prospero and Caliban
 directed the approach of the readersthat followed. Indeed, it appears most of them turn to Mannoni after having readFanon’s critique.Scholars have meditated on the valid-ity of Fanons examination of Mannoni andon the validity of Mannoni’s work. Few, if any, have been outright dismissive of Man-noni’s book even when they have favoredFanon’s critique. Irene Gendzier writes:“Mannoni…has produced what mightcharitably be called an ambivalent analysisof the colonization enterprise” (58). Butthen she adds, “Mannoni’s book deserves acareful reading and selections cited here [inher chapter on
Peau noire
 ] are perhaps themost
agrant” (59). Hussein Bulhan con-cludes, “In the end, Mannoni rationalizedand defended colonialism” (113), yet hisanalysis engages what he calls Mannoni’s“bold insights” (112). Others trace a trou-bled but de
nitive relation between Man-noni and Fanon. Jock McCulloch writes “Itwas only with the publication of Mannoni’s
 Prospero and Caliban
 that the point wasreached at which an independent and au-thentic ethnopsychiatry became possible”(17), such as that, he demonstrates, takenup by Fanon. More recently, Nigel Gibsonrecapitulates and af 
rms Fanon’s criticisms(52-60).In a detailed response to these kinds of critiques, Christopher Lane argues for a re-consideration of Mannoni in retrospect of Fanon, carefully teasing a method out of it,drawing it into the entirety of his career,claiming that “Mannoni’s mature work isultimately the more useful” (129) for un-derstanding the psychology of colonialism.For almost sixty years,
Prospero and Caliban
 has retained its resilience, not only becauseMannoni welcomed debate and correction,but also because the book’s vexations and
 
 R
 
EADING
 M
 
ANNONI
 
 
S
 P
 
ROSPERO
 
AND
 C
 
ALIBAN
 B
 
EFORE
 R
 
EADING
 B
 
LACK
 S
 
KIN
 , W
 
HITE
 M
 
ASKS
 73
 H
 
UMAN
 A
 
RCHITECTURE
 : J
 
OURNAL
 
OF
 
THE
 S
 
OCIOLOGY
 
OF
 S
 
ELF
 -K
 
NOWLEDGE
 , V, S
 
PECIAL
 D
 
OUBLE
 -I
 
SSUE
 , S
 
UMMER
 2007
 fascinations have to do with Mannoni’s re-sistance to hardening his singular perspec-tive. The colonist, he says, can “only bringthe [colonized] to life through the stuff of [his] own consciousness, and to be objec-tive in these circumstances is to arrange asbest we can, and to some extent to organizeour own feelings and fancies in the pres-ence of the other person” (Mannoni 31).These “feelings and fancies” make much inhis and other colonists’ understanding of the colonial experience that Mannoni him-self regards as “imaginary” and conse-quently open to question (31).Along with Fanon, Maurice Bloch mostclearly expresses the critical ambivalencetoward Mannoni’s book. In his New Fore-word to
Prospero and Caliban
 he creditsMannoni’s innovations: focusing on “thecolonial experience” in the study of “tradi-tional African societies,” insisting that insuch studies attention to the colonizershould be equal to that of the colonized,and premising his work on the effect of theinvestigator’s “personality and emotions”on his observations of his subjects and hisconclusions about them (vi). At the sametime, Bloch says that Mannoni was an“apologist” for the French “colonialpower” (vii). He accuses him of accepting“tendentious myths concerning the revolt”of 1947 (vii). An anthropologist “with con-siderable experience of Madagascar” (vi),Bloch avers, “I do not believe that Mannonihad any real basis for his evaluation of thepsyche either of the French colonials or of the Malagasy…” (xiii). Bloch doubts the ap-plication of psychoanalysis to the subject athand, concluding, “Mannoni disguises hisignorance of Malagasy motives only bysubstituting other motives deduced fromtheories originating in the highly speci
cintellectual tradition of his own culture”(xix). Finally, Bloch’s succinct, convincingrefutation of Mannoni’s explanation of Malagasy society and its traditions (see thesection “The Evidence” xii-xix) leaves thereader asking what is cogent about Man-noni’s book, or how one may engage it.
Prospero and Caliban
 is an exposition inpsychological language and methods.Now, whether psychology goes more“deeply” into human affairs than historical,political, anthropological, or other analysesmore obviously social is impossible to an-swer. To get anything out of this book onehas to appreciate the premises of classicalpsychoanalysis, especially: that there is anunconscious; that dreams translate realityas they reveal and counterpoint it; that themind in inarticulate ways moves people totheir actions and understandings; that thefamily and childhood are the primal, de
n-itive experiences in a person’s life; that lifethrough social and sexual experience de-velops as a sort of homology to those pri-mal moments; and, maybe mostimportantly for understanding Mannoni,that individuals unknowingly “project”their own desires and fears onto other indi-viduals and see those others and explainthe behavior of others according to those“projections.” Essential to his argument,Mannoni explains this phenomenon. In hisintroduction he writes, “In any such act of projection the subject’s purpose is to re-cover his own innocence by accusing some-one else of what he considers to be a fault inhimself” (20). Toward the end of the book,after many elaborations of what this meansalong with its rami
cations for studyingthe psychology of colonization, he reiter-ates, “errors of perception in colonial mat-ters, may well be, as Jung suggests, theresult of the projection onto the object of some defect which is properly attributableto the subject” (198).Among the dif 
culties of Mannoni’s re-liance on the concept of “projection” is howhe uses the word “primitive.” His explana-tion gainsays Fanon’s and Bloch’s claimsabout him on this point. Bloch acknowl-edges Mannoni’s dissatisfaction with theword, but adds “he cannot do without itand merely isolates it in inverted commas”(ix). Mannoni does more than “merely iso-

Activity (3)

You've already reviewed this. Edit your review.
1 thousand reads
1 hundred reads
pkareithi liked this

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->