The other question: the' stereotype and colonial discourse

Hami K~Bhaltlla

An jmpoil:tarlft feature O'f eelonial discourse is~t* dependence on the cencept 'fixitY' in the ideological eonsrructien of otherness, fixity~ SIS the sign of cu.hlluIlhjstQ.r:iC3t1rn~l difkrellce in d,te disooilU:'Se of colo:niaHsnl;. is a
of p~lr<1dQxiC31 ode m

order ~swen as di$QI:de:rr" deg(lrw,racy and daemonk I':epe~itkm, Likewi,se the s,tel!'e(),ty~) which is irs maier discursi ve strategy) is a form of k:n.owl,edge aad id~rJlr.i:licac~ion tbat vadUates betw~1l whae is Olh'l'ays "in place' > 'already known. and somethlng that must 00 anxiously [ep~,ied ~ as if thee~~enli:d dupJicji)' of the Asiatic o];.r:l:iebestial sexual m~cenoSeof~~'e A&ican. rllat neediS noproof, c~n fI,(llleir re;.dly> in disoQu£St. be proved, It is this process of QmbWale~:ce, ceacral to rhe stereotype, that my essay explores ,<IS it .. constructs a theory o.fcolonial discourse. For is the 'force of :ilmbiV<'i;]encze tb;at gives tbe (.(lImns] stereor-rpe its curreacy: ensures its [':I:\peata.bility in

,of (ep['esenfcat~on· it (:Qltlnotts rigidity and an unchanging

.t

changing .h~sto.rkai.and discursive con]!mctuFes. in£nrwo$its strategies of indiividuatioD and marginaHsatk'_n~ produces that ,efI~ct OIf prob a biUsr.ic: of what can be empidcaUy proved
ttutb and ptedi.cmbility wbich,foI rhe stereotype, must ahvay.s be ill ex-'Ces$>
Or [,og:icaUy consuiled.

[. ,.. ]

'lti5'!hap'mr
f(MJ
~(I,

~ '!:liken
~flL

i4.

~4U9ID~ W. 18-~~,

[.,•.•] To recognise the' steroorype as an a;m.biva]e1'lt mode of kn,owledg.e and power demands a dlCQret'1caland pol.iriCll] response that challenge~ determlnisrlc or f~nct.i0I13li.sl modes .Qf oO'Jiliceivj~g of the ieJati~JlShip between d~8C-OlIU'seand politics, and questions dogmatic and moralistic positiOPs. on the meaning of oppression and. discrimil1ation. My rt:81dingof colonial discourse suggests that tbe PQiD~of iOIll!trention should shift from the ik7:iit~'fia;l'tiorl' of images as positiv'e or nega:rjv'e,w an lU.d.erS:l:aRd:i~1$ of the processes of subjecti{icat.ion made posstble (and plausibl~) tltroqgB stereotypk:itt mscom::~. T o judge the ste'J!eotY'Ped lRllil.geon the basis of a priQr political normativity Is to. diSnllsS it, not to displace iii, which ilS only posstble by enpgi~g 'wirJli. its, e.ffec#rJ.i,fj; w~h. the to~pettO'i:r,e f pos,itlolls of o

370

P0W!e,_f and resistance, dommat_ion -.a_f.ld dependence tbaJtcO'nsrrll'~~s, the oelenial subJ,ec! (both coloniser and <;oloru.sed). [.... J 0nh>: then does ~[ become possihle to undecsrand thepraau(;trve ambivalence of tbe obiecr of oolon.i:al dsscourse - tha~"otbeme--5s! which j s at cnce all object of desire and derision, anarti~u].n~on .of diffe«o-nce. ~i)ntajned'!,,*hin the: fanl:a~sy of origln and idell~~ty.What sueha re-ading reveals: ~l'e the boundades of ¢oJt!ui<ll~ discourse and it enables :a traasgression .of these lim~ts from. the SPaJ~ of that otbeI:l'l£ss. lh~ CQl11s,t~ction of the: colonial subject in d1i;$coufse~and ehe exercise of coloniaL power tluollgh discourse, demands an articulation of bIDS, of diffel'"f'J1Ice- racial and sexual, Such an articuJation become-s crucial If it is hekI that the body is,:~Jw~ys sim.uJtbneously iusc:ibed ~n both ,~e ~nOlmy .of p.lea.sl.Ixe and -des]];tl and the economy of discourse, donnrl<\UQn and power. [.... ] .

[Coloeial d_i~col:!:!:se] is an app<1:rat1:l:-s tl'L.lI,t turns on the recognition and. drosavo-w:al of ra·d~l!lCulrurnl!lU:ustol'k.,al differ,eRees. Its p.r~dlomimlnt strategic fmiction is the creatio·n of <Ii space fer a (subject peoptes' t:hlruugh the prodeceion of knowilie<tges, in rerms .of which surveillance is exereised an,d a complex 'DIm ,of p~ea:sutwunpleasl.m! is indted.lt seeks autbo.dsadon for it1S strategiesby the production of know1edges o£ celontser andceloeised wbiclJ, sore. SOOt-eo-typka~ but ~ndthetkaHy ev.duated. The ob~ecr]v~ of co[on~31 discourse is· toconstrue the Icoto-nised as a -pop1!!!lnionOif degenerate types On tth~ basis of racial ol'j~fn~ in order to j usn!}' COfiqJUest and re e-Stablish systems of adminisrrarion and instmcnen. nespioo-dle play .ofpoWli1l(wi.thin eolcnia] discourse and the shifting posidenalities of its su,bject.s (e.g . .effects o-f class, gender; ideo]ogy, different sccial ~form.iitjoOS. varied systems -of coIDn.isatioR etc ..). I am reterringro a £OlFlti 'Of go'Vernm:enta]ityrbat in maJrki.ng O'l!llt a 'subwect mrriorr', appro~riateS~ directs and dominates. ~rn va:dOlJrS spheres of activity. Therefore, despite ·the ~pJa:y' in the colonial systemlavhich is crucial to its exercise of J?Owerjco~o!lliial discourse _piodllmce$ the cO~O:lli~d as a fixed _mali,., wllltidil Is at onoC~ 30 <:Orthew'and yet'len:tirely knowable- ail.d visibi,e.lt r,eseJnbtes, a .fo!.'llnof narrative where:by,h~ productivity and. circulation of Sl],bj'fiGt$ a nd signs: are bOllllf.l,d ~,na reformed and recognisable totality. It employs a S"yst~m of representation,a. .regime ·of truth,that is structuJ.'alJy similarto Rea1ism. And it is in order to illitervene within tb:at system. of :r-.ii:.PJiesen1iat.iOin Edward Said propose-s a semiotie th;act· ot 'OrientaHst' POWe-I, e~amining the varied European discourses which Clonsti.mttl "ehe Orient' as. an unIDed racial, gef!l~phic-al" political 31~d ,c11'lltutal zone of '~h'liworld, Said's sHalf.ds ~s rev~aLing of. and re;levant to:; ·coto'lllal. discoufse:
Ph.iktsopbi~allly. then. the kind ·of langnage:. thought; and 'viiiion that I l:Iave been calling Qr.ie_n:EaIi:;m f)elller.al]y is a form of ffldical Tetll;$lI1~,anyone very etlllpioymg orie,llta~.isn'!l~ 'whi(clt is the hibit f:Ch dealmg wirth. qaestices, Qbjecll>.

HOMI

1<. IIHABHA

qlJ~l]ties and regien dee"med Odental, will dl:'Signare. n3!IUe, palnt, .ro, :fix what he i!~ '~alknrn;g er tb:iD1ki~g aOOlrU: with ;:q, worn or phm~i!.which th~1.'lis ooruid'el'e:d either to have acqoiredi, 0]" mOr-e sim.piy to be. fe,dity~. . . TIn.~ teooe they emp.loy ic$ ,riheetim:eless ete:ma.l~they CORVtry' a.ll.imp~ion Of repetition and s1rrength ,.•. For all the&e fl!l:ru;:riO:lIs .it is frequently ,enough ItQ. 1!1Se (We:simpll! copula ~ (n1yel1'l!ph.3sis). ~

For Said. the c-op.ula seemsre btl [he point a~ which W~l:ern Rati'ona]irsm pzese:rves t.h-e bOllii1Ld~:ri.e,S" of~e.n!>e f'Or itself. 0 f this.~ 1l00~ Sl:lIid is ~.=rwaw when he hints oontinuaLLy ~t a 'polarity '011: divis~(jn ait th,eve,ry centre oJ Odent;alism.2: ~tis, on ,the on,e hand,. it topic of learniRcg~discovety, pC3icti'~i ,~~ the '(lither,Itls the site of d[e:<nns~images~ fantasies, myths. ob&e-ss:iollS: ... d reqelreeienrs. JJt is ~ sl"<l~i;c' system. of '>S:yndl1'omc e,ssenti,;l]jslll"~l n knowledge of <s:igni.fi,ers,·o,f stalbility' such <IS t:he lexieegraphic and the
encydQPa~dk.. Howeves,

thi:s

S'jte

]$

continually

under

rhrea1t from dla-

,citron], {o,rms, of hiswl1' and ruJlnative. s;jgns of .illsr,a'bi.Hty, .. And. finally) rliIDi.s line of thinking, is given a shape analogical to the dream-work, when. S8 i.d refers expIkirdy ~,o, distinction beeweea '!.m unconscious posi:tiviity' which a he terms latent Odent<l.I:i.sm.:, and the staeed knowiedge.s, and view'S abo1J[ [he Ori.ent whkh he calls m~hilestOdel;][!a1ism. Where the odgioa.Ury this pioneering theory [OSI!lSits ]lIvenriv,eness. and for fire its usefulness. ~$ wirth Sa id"s relaceance 'ttl eugage w~th. the a]tedo- alnd ambivaJettce: m ltihearticulation af tbese- ·tW'O ecenomies which du'eal!etl to split the ve,ry obj~t of Orienta.list discourse a-s a.kno,w~edgc and the su;bject PQsiti-oned therein. He contains diis th.r,~~t y 'introducing a b bi~adsm withi.n the arg!lIDe]\Jjt which. in initially $I!ttil'l!g up an opposjdon, these 'two disc,11ltr8ive scenes, finaUy allows them to be (iOtlle']aiied as, a ,cong~'Uent syste._m of repUlse.oranon that is unified i!:brough a poUticlI)ldeologlcal intention, wh.ticl:!, in his words, enables :Europe to advance sec-u:reJ)' a:Jilid~Hmetl1'phO'f,'ict11fy upon the' Orient. Sa:id iden:dies (;ont.e~i of Orientalism as the unconscious reposlrory OIf mnta;sy, @__ajginative wdtings and essentlal ideas; and tire form of manifest Otl,enraUsm as the histoltjc~Uy and. discrn:s;irv,ely d.e1:e:r..mned, d.iachroni,e-aspect. T~is d'ivls:iuI!/ .c.orreiatiOI;} structure of m:a.niies;t and Iarene Odentalism leads to the dJie,cltlvity oi the c.(Incept of discourse being tmdennirted by ,.vhat could be caned the polarities of i:l'llwntiona]~ty. This produ,c.e.,s a problem wildt Said's use af Fo~'tault:'s concept 01 po-wer and discoerse. The' prpduc,tivity ,of Foucault's eoncep; power! know]edge He-s in its re:flOisal of an 'Ilp.istlemo~ogy \vhkh opposes esscncd appearance, ide(rnogy/~l.e,n{J~;.. 'Po.~V'D,i-rIrSarlo;:r' pLaces s1!l!bj~rs i1'1 a .dation of power and recegnitien 1ibat is not part of a symmetrical or dialectical relation - selffother. MasteJ:lSlave - which can 'then be mbve._rted b'-y being mll'~d. Subje.c:ts are 3h~ay.s diis,prop.onionate-:iy placed ]n oPl'ositilon 0;( aomlIDlltirnl througili the sym buJi.c decenterlng of mldtip]e power-relaelons which play the role of support as we-lias ,t<JJ.':g.e,t adversary, It becomes or di:ffiicult~then, to eonceive of the hisU)tical enunda.dons of eclonial discourse w~t.b.out '!dIem beinS ei~ber fum:ct.ionaUy overdetermined ,O"t stm:l1egtc8.l1y elaborated OJ: di$placed 'by the un.(;5omciou~ scMe of laeenr Orienealism,

of

me

or

'1'1'1 e OTH ~ A QUE ST II0 111 1"1i'I11[~TE RE O'TYPE ~

AND

C QLON

IAL

ersc

OURS E

'l/ldthout the cl\omio<lnt bei~g stra:tegica1l.y placed 'within it eoo, There is ;dw,ays. ,in Said, the sugg.e-stio,1l dl;;li;ll colonial power and discourse j,1> POSS~$sOO. entirely by 'me eoleniser, which is a hfsto.ri,ca~ and ,t'bcQI,etical simp.li.fic'8Ition. TheOOJ.'lns iID wbjch. Said's Odetrm]~smis unified ~ the ~nwntionaHt:y and unidh:-.ectionaLiry ,of colonial pewer - abouo.ify ~he s,ubj~t of ,co.lolJ:llhdenundadQ'mI. TtJs is a r'esu[tQ,f Sai.d's i.n:adequ'3:re a.tl,jen~tionw represestaaon as a. COll1:cept t'hat a:I:'lIDcul'<lles the h.is~'OIricaland i.;uuasy (ast<he scene of deske) in me production 0.'£ the 'po;Jitiea.l" effetts of disQQ:~[Se. He rigbdy r-ejects a Dorion of orlentalism as the mi:srepre.senta:rjon of an O.r~elil!t:aJessence, However, ha:vLng i~t!iod'1IlCed: the c~n~ept of 'discourse' he does nor face up to die problems it makes, for the instrumentalist notion of power I knO'wl~d~ t:hal: he. seeD'lls to ~lJJlire. [•.. ] This hring,s me to my second point - that the clesure and Qo:he;rence amibuted to the ~o:nsdous pole O'f ooIDo.rua~discourses and theuaproblematised notion of the subj!e.ct. restrlctsthe effectivity of boehpower and knowl,ed~.m;t is> not possi.Me to see howPQw1er brllCriO.l1S productively as inc:.item·ent and intt'4di.crion. NOfwouh!.it be pOiSs~ble, whi:lI(n~t the <l!rtl"ibution 'OfOilIubivalenoero relations, ofpowerlknQl;llleC!g:e', to ealculsre drettauma,cic imp.:ll::t of ehe return of the ,oppcessed - tho~e reuifyi;ng $T(e'reoqpes of $a:v~g,elry~ eanniballsm, lust arrd aoarclxy woid1 are the signa] points of identification and allenarion, scenes of fear and desjJ:ie~n co.1onlal i "[e'xt's. It is preciSely this fu_I1,cti6:1.1 of' t.~ So~e'motype <11$ phobia :lind fetish thae, ~cCiOlding 'rIOfanon, ehrearens the-closure of the mcialle;pidennal schema ~or tire coW.mIf.alsubject <'!nd OP~l"!;$ roya:lroad to oo.~on:iar fantasy. the Wh<l~i!i'mis 'otn.er s:oen~ of eolonial discourse played Out around the ~medillm c;;lJ~egory>.?W~at is this m.eory .0£ enc-apsu.ladon or :furn~i~n wllii,ich moves berw,een rtH:l reoognifjO,Il. of clllit.umJ and rada~ d!iffur~nce and its, disa l;'Iow'a~~.by affixing fj'\u,;lIJ:Ifumi.IJal' 1)0' sorne:thing ~tab]l8hecl~ in a form that ;is repeddous and vacillates berween dd~ght and fea::d tt isnet a:oa~Qg.ous tOo.the Freudian fable of feeishism (,and diSlavo:w,al) that circulates w:ithin the discourse of celonial power > requi:dng [he articuiarton of modes of di{£erentiationsexual and racial - ;i!$ well as d.ifli(;,rent modes of discourse - p:sycboanaly'U'ic and bismo.rkal? [] hi this spid1i I argrre fa·:; ehe readii[ii,g of the. stieOOOfype in terms. of ftd$hism. The mryih of hi:$OOricaJ origillaJtion - racial purity; C'U1,turaJ priodtf - p!mdiuoed. in relaeien to dle ,c:oLO!ru:d~w:reO'type funcdons to ~!1O.mlJa:li$e:" rbe mu]tipJe: bdi.ef5 an.dS"!plit~1IJIbj~ts ~hat c.o.nsti!1lJ.t'iet:Q~o:n~~a] disoouese as it consequence of its precess ,of ,di$avow.aL The: scene of fi;.'!:lsm.s,m,'flU'l,c:tj!o:E]S, sim:iJ;ldy as, at once, a reactiwtiiOflof the mseerlal of original f~ntasy anxiety ofcast'Ea:tion and sexual differenoe - as wcl.l as it nOil'maH~~tion of that di fferenoe and djstllrbanoe in ue.['"m,s· the fetjsh '0.£ object as the substitute' for the mother'S penis. Wiiliinrhe a:ppanitus of colonial power; the. disoomses of sl'lxudity 3Dd! race relate .i:lll a p(ooen-;o£

Equ~lIy~ i~ is djffi,cJ.tI~ to< (lonceive ofrhe process of s~bjoctific'llt~Q']l, as a, pJac~ftgwithin Ori:enralisl" or coLO!tlial discourse lO'r ,the' dominated subject

[..• J

...

me

(une,tj,r:msJ o'rJe.rdet'e:rmmation. "because each effec~ •.. enters 'into resenance of .eo.nitr-adilCt:ion"vim ['he .orhersand thereby cans for a re-aclj,llstmJeIllf or a re-\cvoilting of the he~e:J:o~neou:s ,~l,e.ments that surfa,,~ .atvariious points'. ~ Then is: both a sU'~otUfal and func:dtlna[ justifi.cario.n for reading the ilrac:laJ~e:!:,~o;type ,of colonial dli$C'om-s~ 'in rerms :of fetishism. -1 M.y l'e'=Ie'ad~ng d:iiful.'em::e;i~ dm:t I'tlperh:ious scene ~vrOl!.uldthe- problem of casrrarion, The liecogni'!lion of s~~ual difference - as the .p'.re·c()ndh~on fOf the circulation 01 '~,e d];a:in of ahsfcm::e a]]]d presence in the re<lhn of the Symbu]k - is ditavowed by tlu,l fixation on an. obje<:t ~hat masks ·that difference and res.to![~ an or~gi.I'I:i11J presence, The fimr.;dc.ma.t 1i:nkbetween thefi~ation of ~he fetish and the stereotype (Qr the stereotype as f~tl$h) is even Ulort rdevant. FQ[;fetishism is ~Iways a 'pJ;ily" of vad]l<ttion between the 0IK:h3 ii: i1lifnrm.at:rQ:~ of wboJeness/simiLarir-y - in Freud's terms: <All men have pe!lise,s'; in oms •An men hall'e the same skinl~celt:u l1l'we.'- 3Jnd.th,(l anxiety asseclared wid! lackand diHerel'loe - again, lor Freud 'Some do not have pC'n:ise$~; forus ~Son'1eclio .•lot have the same s,kiWt<J,ce!ndture.'· With~ndiseeurse, the futish .representS the simulraneous p~ay ber-ween metapl:loras ~ubSit:itucion ([tb!lisld:ll\g absence and diffew:m;:'e) and m';"1:Qnym,' (which COIn,tiguousl.y :l:'e'gisrers-(he PJ~rveived lack]. The fetish or ste;r·eotype g;ives 3,'CCC$S eo all <idtmtit:y; which is. p.r-edlca~ed<ls much on mastery and p~ea:s.1.u:~ i:t IS en <18 anNie!.'}' and defence. 101[it is a .ool."m of multiple and contradictory belief m. ies recognition of dl a:e.ren~ and disavow(i,l of it. Tills CQ·nflkt oE pleasure! uapleasure, masU~l'y/didelloe. knowl,edge/dis.a.v'owa.I., aiJsence/presen.oe,. has a. fundamenta I sigil']i.ficance fOil: colonia! d~S:C(HI,l!rse. For the scene of ferisbism Is also th~ scene of the reactivation ,and repetition of primal fantasy - tile subject's desire for a pure O[~gin that is a:Jwa.ys threatened. by its divisioa, fqr the sllbjllct must be gendared to be en.gende(~dto. be spoken. The s:te1\eotypl\ then, as the pdm.u:y point: of su.bh:ctificatio.ll ln celonial ,djsoO!uI"se, for both cio·Jonisera:nd co]onj~ed" is ·m.e sceae of a simdar fanm~y and defence - the desjJlr;:for an o.rigin1ll1izy which is a~~t1 rhrearened b:y the dif£eren~ of r-ace. .colour and culeure, My COIii,rentlPiI1 is spte1lJdidly caught in Fanon'·s. t.ide Jj:'ack Skin Wbite Mask'S where the d:is~nl'()'Wal of d.ifi());'enoe turns the eolonial su'bjGct inte a. misfit - a grOitesqtre mimicry Q1r<doubling' ehat threatens 00 split the soul and whole) linidiffer,eFJ!liiiiit~d skin of the ego. The ste:r.eotypeis not a simpHficati.o.R because j,r is <I false representation of a given reality. It: is a simp]itfica.ti.oD because it is an attested; fixated !o]'m of repres~nta.tjon. that. in denyi:ngche play of diffe'rence (that the negation dlifOIJ.gh the Other permits], ,eoDsritm:.es a pt-oblen:lfor the representation of the subject in signifi!Cat.ions

of Said establishe:.s ehe strudn1'lil link. Fetishism) as' the disavowal of

0·£ psychic

and social relations,

[. , .]

III
There are two, 'p,rimaJ scenes" in Ji<'lnon's BJ'o"Ck S.kim White .Masks.: tWO mytb_s ·ofthe origin. of the marking of the subject w:ith:in the racist pracriees ;iI,1lIGis~41MSes ofa colonial C1:JIh:llre.Oil. one.eecasien a;wMte girl :fi_}J::l!s d Fa.m:m.
TH E S re Ri!lOTYPE AN D COLO filiAL 01 sc au RSE.

3'14

'TH E OTH Ell: Q U ESilON:

\!lhf41 echoes e!!ldl~sl,Y dl1'olll,gh his essay Thg Fact of Bliu;kness! iLook~ a Negr'o ... Mamma, see the N¢gro! I'm, frightened. Fr:i,ghtened.Fdghrtened.· 'Wh~i: else oould it be for me', Panon c'Q.I\d:u,de.s," <but an aimp'U'tat~on~and ~ioni,a 'hae:mmr'llll:g;e th~ljJt spane!l)ed my whole body w~thblack Mood.,S Equany, he stresses the primal mQm~fit when the clilld e.noounters facial and c.ul,fural stereotypes in chil.dre.n·~fictt:iQQ.8, where wW(~ heroes and black demons <ircepl:'ofEered. as PQi~ts elf ideC)~ogical and p~iychIDca~ide:nitifiC3~i,OLIl. Sw::h dramM are enacted every day in ookmia] wcieties" s:aysFano:n;, employing a theattica~metaphor - the scene - which emp,nasjs,esI1M visible - rhe seen, I wa1ilt to pray on baththese senses whiib. refer at once to dl~ ;site 'of ml'ltiUiY and desire and tQ 'the s~ight (if s.ubioctifkati.an andpower ..
It i:Sl!nis OOiJI(!~X1t' that I 'want to allude brie:f]yro the: problematic of oo;!i,nglbeing $~e-n,.I suggest that in order to con~"e (l·f t'he oo~onia~ subject as the ~foc,t of po,wer thar is prQducnvf:_ - di~ipJma.ry and ·pleasru.';l.bte· -

in a look andwo\lrd

M

me turns

IiO

identify with her mothet,m.

is a scene

[, , ..J

~heregime

one has. ws~e the .sur:il.ei:llanJ;e oj colonial power' as f'lll.i:lctiooiTllg in r~ihl'tioR to of tbe sC{liJ:,ic- drive. That is, the drl ve f~~.t represents the p[easure in 'seeing'" wb.lchha:s the look as,.lts objlect of des,ir-e, is relaeed both to th~ myehof origi,llS; the primal scene" ilnd the p'l',!),b~e,ma.tiJcof fetish~sm'3:nd loeates rhe surveyoo object within the·' imagina.ry' '[dation. Like voyeurism>

smveiUoocemns,t dependfor its efEeclltiviry on 'd:te (Utive .ooment which is j,ts leal or mythical corwlate ~'but al.W'aiys real as my'l:h) and esrabli.sh..e.s in. the scopic space th~ il1m;~on of tine object it~l;3ticrn.·,Ii> Tile :unbivalli:l:m:eof d'lris fio:r.m,of 'consent' in: ,objec'nncalioll ~ real as .myrnka[ - is tJhe ambJv(Jlence 0.0 which the stereotype. t:lXIisalld iI1'1ls£mtes t;hal: crucial 'Mnd 01 phm.s.ure and powel' tba~ f'ouc..au)t asserts bUlt;, tn My v'ftlW ~ faiw to e:xplain. My a:~t:Olfiy of colonial discourse :remains incompletle umil I locate the ~~eleQtype. as ali! .a.{iffiSt:ed,fetisbistic mode of repll\esffitationwithlin j,ts ield of idwti:fic;t,tion. wmch I have idwtified in my de:s:c.r.iptiol1 Q:fPaHQI"!'S prim,al scenes. as the Laeaaian ~hemlii. of 'tbe .Im:agmar)'. Tine lma:girnary7 is the tl'.msiolrmadoD tha,t takes place in the subiect 1I:t the formative mirror phase. when it assumes a discrete ima.ge whidi 3JUOW~S it to ppstul;;li~e a S<2.ies <>J$qll.h~e'~"~ ~f'J1If'~i's,. j,rie:ntiities.. bll'tween tbt obiiCCltS of the -suu(lunding; world. Howevelt"r:biis pos:.iUomng ifs itself'ltr()1biemar.ic" fur die s;llbject .fin~s,or rec~i$e:s ~tsdf fiht:0Ugh ;a:f.I imagewhi.ch is si:mul,UllteQl]sly alienating, a!:u1 hence pcmmdaUy ,conftontadonal. This is the basis of the dose r~lation between ehetwo WifIDS, of ide[ll!'ibCa:tioll cQJ11:p~idr ".. thll hriagint'llr}' - n:ndss11s;m and 'a;ggIessivity. It [5,p'flecJsdy these tw10 ~ol1'ms of ~idenrineat;ion' ':bat C(lru;tirut.e the de.irumt Sti:.n,egy of co.lonial powe.:r exercised in relation tothe sl1el:wtype which, as a £0,][.00ill multipleand con:~~dic>1ioQ beMef. gi~'e:s knowledge of diifer·ence and Siimuba.neQllsly di.sa'Y'ows er .... sks jJt. Like dle mkw..r phase ~thefIlllnesS" of the 5t(!rwtype -its image ~sident~,ty ~ is always threaeenedby ·lack'. The OOi!i1[stf1!l.crion of t:o.lonh\l discmll[i!:e ;s, rhen :.'! oomplex articuletien of tlhe trop~ p£ fetis.hi&m - metaphor' and metlooym.y - and the forms oJ narcissistic lind ~~>s:i.ye ident:ffica,~iO\.n",,,aiiiable td the'lmagina.!.'Y. Stereotypical !racial discourse is a foW:'.Ite.rro s'traliegy. Thereis a dei-up, ben'll'eeJJ!r1h~

im

HOMi

~. aHABHA

meraphoric or m.asking function of the fetish andrne narciasistic o!bjeICtchoice and a_n ,opposing alliance between the m:et-oiffymic nglU'ing ,of Lack. and the aggr~s.$ive. phase, oft'be]'maginaJry. A repettoilie [of oonfl.icma:l po&itio!lS cdn;sl:i:mte the' subject in colQw,al discourse. The taking up of :lIfilY one position, witrun a specific discll:lif<sive fOt'm. in <'! pm"ticul.ar hist'()r~cal oom;juIIc,'tlLlJ.1e. is :tbus a1mys rprroMema'tic - the sire ,of bath fixity aad &ntasy., Itp.rovjd~~ a colonial 'identity' thOllt is played our _, likie aJt £l'lnItasresof or,iginality and ,Qtiginati(m ,~ :in the and spa,ce of the disrup~ion,an.d thre-a,l foom the het,erpgeneity of ordu,erpositions. As .. fo~ of ~pnrnn;galld rnaltiple belief, the "~te,reott:ype; requires, f'Or its Siucoessmt signiiea:ti,otl) a eonrinuai and repetitive chain (If other stereotypes. The precess by which the metaphoric 'maS'king' is ~nscribed an a ~a[ck'Which must then be OO:R,t:::~ilIledgi es the Sfe:reO'type bOli!h Its m.iity <rod hs pbanfaSflllatic quality - the v S'4""'me old steries OF fhe NegJo's ~Uty, the: Coelie's imc;,IluabiHry or the stupIdity of the Irish must he wid (oompub:ively) again and afre-sb, and are differently ,gratifying and 't¢n'ify~ng each time,

moe

[, .. .]1 [W]e must i1Icknow1edgesome s:ig)llificllInt diffurences between the general theory 'of fetishism and ~rs specific uSeS ~oxan understandirng of racist discourse, fi(S(, the feti~b of ool0uiaJ d]sOQoo:se - what F.sf.IilOti ealls du~ epiderma] scnemQ - is no.!:,like the seXualletish. a secret, Skin, as the key sjgni:fier 0,£ culturaland racial dilie.r,em:eitn the stereotype" is the mese vi~ib~eof fedsh,e$~ [WOgnised. as "eommon knowae~,ein. a [an~e ,of cuit1!llral)politieal, b~sltodc3.1 disceurses, and plaYl: a pub~c pan in rue r-adal drama dun is enacted every d~y in col,oma. societies, Seoondly" 1.1: may be said tbat sexual fetish is closely linked to the 'good ob~,ecf;.it is rhe pro r'h'litmakes the whoJeobject tliesua.bJe and ~ova.l:l']e, fadill.itates Se'NUa:l reladons and can even promote a form of happiness, The stereotype can 31 be seen as that panicular'fixaood' funn oJ the colonial subject wl:l.i. ftuiiJitate.s ooJ](:mia] te:.la:riQM~a:nd sets IIp a d_isC'~.ve .forM of r:a.ci'al1an ~ cultural opposiriorr in terms of wlli!iichcolomal, power is exercised. If ir claim,ed that the ,col·o,niis(l,d 1111.'0&[ often obj,ects of hate, then we can [e. are with F;I\euiltha:t ·affec~ion and hostility in the treatment' of thefelis wh~ch tu~ parallel widl the disa'Vo'l¥aJ 'and acknewledgemene o'f~a$ua - are mixed in une:q1!!ial roposnons In. .different cases, SQ' that the one p the other is more c.l~ady reoogni:sable:8 [ ••• ] [ ••• 1: for OUf pmpo~ lIIb;ind to,wanils.[<.I] .rea:diing which rl'i~:»'1 pm~ . a IvisibHity' tothe exercise of power;. gives force to the :ili~l.eD:t that 'a~ a Slglli6'er of di!>l:rHninartklil., Blust be predaeed Oil' p.rQoe.ss~ as .As.Abbot say~; :in .iiI. very d~ffnmnt context,

[.. , -l

w'herea~ r'ep:r~on
'attempts

banisb:~s its 'obtec-t irnlo

~o .(Oirgeittbe iorgening:,

the WlCQIlSCiQus, fu.rg~ d~S(j'lmjnadQ_1l 1lIUiSf ~8ta!t1dr -

fCPfe5eul.taElOllS mt'Oc~.I!.Sci(l'USlleSs, re-iplo!l)cing the crueiel recogn;:difference w]Uch tiley em body and u:vLtaLisin,S mt'm tOt the pe!l which hs ,effoctiv.i,ty diepend:ii: .. ' . Itm;lIIciiit sliIst\lin .its:eJ£ 00 '~~ P[le8e:na V<~ diff(i.nmce, which ~oS aL~ its Qbjea.9·

[. ..]i The role offetis~istic i~[n~':oadQn.~ i!lth~ ~@nSt~IIl.ctiOmt oJ d~scr.i:tn:inatory .kitnlOiW ].e~ges rh~u depend. on [he 'pllecSe,:,nce of differ~no~l~ i~ to p'r~~id¢ a P'.liCC¢SS, of $pl~ttil]g· and m:u1,tlp,I'~"CQn[r,adiclC!.ry belief at '('he porn!: of emlillela:[]on and subJ{I~tifit!aJtLon. "It i.e!> tbiLl; cu,ejalspHtiting Qr the ego which is represen~.ed in FaO:iQ~$ desadptio~ G:f rlre: construetlon of the OO](Ini:d $ub~{ltt as effu~ of $Jt~r~qrl?i.cal d.i:S~t'il1Ise:~hesub~et;t prjm.p![d:ia~ty iil::ed :lind yet 't.rrip]y sp]~t betWe.en the inooinlgrue'nt !rn.owl~d~es of' pod!)\~ I<!~> a:noestm"s. ~sa:i~ed by th)e s~!:'eOtype, 'til'lilil corporeal schcetna c.rtl:mbloo,~ rrs p]ace~itlwn. b~ a .r'.iclal ,ep1-cierm1'lIscbeme • .. It was no Lon.~~r a q~g,sti(llln of being <:!.WOIiEe ~y b6dy in th~ thkd person. bll'l a r..rtp~e of , m' . ", . . L.~~ _ person ., ., . '~,was not- gl!'liM.Q!IU) 1L. . tW01i tUI~e,e pJLacces.10 ,out This process is, best u~de[stpod jnterm.s of th.e <iuttkuLatiQIl of ~uJtiplec belief tha.t Fr.eud pm;PQ:s~sin the e8&3:yon fud.shism, [It is a nonrepreSsJve f(Jltm of .b:O'wl~dg~ 'lb.a:~ .dlO'Ws ful;rh.,e possibility of slreul .. "
ta"neiO'tl\'i:ftymlbradfig two conl'.radicto1":Y beii.ern,one ..oHkial aadoae seczet, e one :al1l:ltai.c and one: p(n\O'gr~si:v~,. ,QJ)lJj$ th<lir~UQW'Sl!he,1I'[!r'tiJm. 1 ~gins~ the othe:rthat a:rti~'ll~a;tesU£erente and divistoll'J: •. ~t!k d ],mow]ecl!ilje 'vaLue' lies in 1rsOlf~~[:g~O'I!doElia d'~~oclwa~d$ as ~em.aJ. ~.~~tY. [, . .]

or

It is dtl'Oli~ tM..s n©ttIDOii'l sp:Uu11ntand .mulr.ipte beUref dlat~ mbd~eve~ of lC be:come:s ea:sre:rr 1:0 see the Mnd d .kll(jW~~dge .and fant:<tliY" pOwe{f and r,I¢"'$ure~ that i!1EQ'lmst~e p.;!nicu]alJ:" r-e:gime ofv:jslbility d~p.I.~yed in .cJl[omal d~s:ooIlliJrSe.'Ihe visibUity (III th-e mciallcolon:ia[ otllt!et ]$. at eace a X,,@iuf ·of ]~~ntity {~1061k, a NegJ~l) <lindar the :same:tim~ ~ '/)t'tJh,l#"}~ ror ~flhe a:tteMpred closure wIr:hrulfidtscdu[se.Fm dierecog[l~dol\ of d:i:fEerem;~ as 'imagi!lllryj( pOImltS of ]d~ntiqr and o~~gin- such a'SPJaik ,..del Whiw - i:ll diStUl;b~d b~ .~. ~plCe,seI;licMJ:~n~f s;plitt~[]_g thJ~ ,d~~O'~tst;\. 'W'h<1t 1 Qai]]ed the' ,play 'be~l:l. the me,1!:ap:ti,Qrk'-nardsslsdc all1!Gme,r9nym.i.c~agg're.ss~v,e ID..o,m.ents'in 'OO]on~ar diim::ollll'se- d:mt fmlF-pal"lt stratiegy of the s1:e:l'eO~pecmciaJ]y 1L"0!4Qgn"s~the p.r.eflguri:n;g r>f desire at -a pctentially co.nElktll<L]> dist~!eMng force in all those, reg:im.es of ~OJ.1ginaH!;y!tbat I h<l!:ve b'l(IOUght (lOg~lther. [rtlrih,e objecufiOllition of the soopk drive ehere is a]way...~he threatened return of me loOk; in the idientmt;<uion 6£ the [_m.~grrul.lrfrel~tion the[fe: 15· <i~W\ly$ [he .:fli~<ltif!~; Qtb~l' (or fflir.[QI:l w.h.k.h c£udaUy :fel::tliJIns]Its .Jln:llllge to r.lm Sll.bf~ctiand ~Il'r~;llt .foB1l'!l of sl1:bstln~ti!on and iX;1l.~ioD that i.s fetis1llsm there is, :.zI]ways the 'trace of loss, ,a.b.senc-e. To p:Uit it S:!;lc~ir!.cot[y,th~ ~(l6gni.t:iQtft. <l)ltd dJsav:o,wa,1 'Of ~d.ifkre:r'lte' Js~lwaJys di:Sotl1l'hed by me q;uestioJ] of its ro-prl!:sent:adon or CO!1sb:uct~@n. l'h~ s~~Qrype ;is in. fact an

m

':imp~s~lble'!oij.e.c·t .. [ .... J ~.• .j SootcO'typil1g F$ ~Ot

alllbivll.~enr~t o.f pooiecrrioD),lna [ITll\olec[;lo.o". f:;tllp.horic and mew~ymic m • _J,: I - ,. d ., ·1' ,; h ~strntieg~es" wsp. aeemene, o'Ve!l,'\ et:e:rm:lnatlOIl" ~i!t, a;ggws.s~vUf) t J: m\l.$~ing ~wd.l$plittimg of 'o:f6d:ai' and. pham;asm.at:k.knowle~g'e~ to,constmct the pmritti:o:na~ides and vppos~de!l1laHties ·of racise d[soo~rs'C's. [.... 1 It is recogn1s!lh]y true ,vhar the -chaia ,~f s:tereo[[YP1cal sjgnlllcal'tan is cwiousLy mixediillld $Jllit, polymot'Ph:o~ll and pe~'e.f$e-, an ~n'fJ:c;!.'!];ttiQ~ m.l.ddpJ~ belief. The blact is b~rh ~~~ of (~'lI1111b.a.I):land y:e41 the n:I.l';isr ·Obedi)e@:t <i:~d d~niflecl of ~fVant'$ (the be~JrJ8rOr foodii !me ~s ehe
<

the .s~"Uing: up ofa false illl;:3Jgl:: wb:iib becomss the s:cap~~O~Jt' of disctimJl!laoory p:ra.cti.ces. n is ~ mu:cln. rn.Ql,e

::171'

embodiment of rampant sexualiQ' and yet innocelXt as ,11 (hi1d~ he is mysdca~ primitive~ simple-m~nded and yet'the most. \V,oddlly and 3J(:OOIDpolished U:n, and nlaolpuhrror of social fQ~oes. In each esse what is being. dramatised is 3J separation - between races, cu.lru!."e.s~ hisrerles, within h~stor.h"lS1 a separatio[l. between before and after th~t eepeaes obsessively the mytb.kaJ moment of dishul!crlen . .Despmte the stmctu:ral sjm~[aciti.es wit'll the play oi need ~:nd desire in primal fantasies, rhe c:o[o.niia~ b.nusy does [lot tzy to() cQve1."up· that moment ·of sepa[\3~io,n.It is more am:bin]ent. Oil th~ one hand. ~r.propose-s a teleology - under certain oonditions ,of colonial domisaelonand contro.l the native is pJrQgJe'Ssively reformarb1e. On 'the (It.beE however, irr effectivdy djsp]ays dIe ·s~pa[3tioo·. makes it mOille l'~sibl,e.It is the visibility of tins sep.a.ration which, jn denying the colonlsed the caps.citiies of seU"S:cIvemment. ~i:l'lidependen.ce; wesrerm modes o.r dv.m,ry" lends authodtyro the o.ffidaJ. version and mission oohlll:iar pow-er. Co~omi!J fantafiY ~s rJl:~co:nJti!lua[ drnmatisati.o.n of em.e.rg'eooe - of d\i.ffeiJi'~ enee, freedom - as, the: begilmiing of a his.to:zy w.hi.ch is repetitively denied. SilKh a defllbil i-s the clearly 'voicoo demand of celonlal discouese as tile l~gidmation 0:£ 3, f(l(roJ of rule that is facilieated ]~y the racist ff!tiish [••• J ..
l,

or

1

2
J

4

5

6
7

Edward Said, Orie:ll,taiimf (t.ollldQll" RQ\liiIedg~ a:I!1l(!~gl!;lIl?a.u1. 1915), p, 72 !emphas;1.Sl .a&d~d). [bid., p. 206. .Michad fo~ult, ~Tht conkssioo: o.r lh~ £ksh'. in .P(JIvetIK~ (l.ontilf;l!!, HaF~ftf" 1980). p. US. See. Sigmrl!lliJd PreO:d, 'Pttidcism' (l9:l7] hi 0.,1 ~urJltr;r, vol. 7 (lbrro.o.mbwortii, PcI'iiC\l!l reud lib.rll:ry, 198i) p. 345ft !exlracted ill Cbltpter 2(l~f [!'his voJm). F Ch:r~tr,3n Me~, PS)!dJo04"a~$it .miJ Ci"J'~; "be l"mal"iH~ry S:;gnJfi~r [Lol"uilon, Ma.cmilla:li'i). 19821. p'p .. 67-18. See abo Sl)evc. N~;Jte., 'l1le same oM ~~OJ:Y: seJr:eQtlllJ.l!C'S ~OO dlifieret.LC'c\IO',Sffi!en &l~-miron" 3.2:133,(1l97'9:1aJO), !,p. 33;-7. fmn~ FaDolI. BI4&R. S:ki-n While M,(l$k~ (Lon.ao.II, P.Il1adilll. 1'97(1).p. 79. Mc!7';' P$'f:~aQJUlrysis ~J Cmemlf, pp. 6Jr.3: Po.t '!h~ b~5t aCIDUIlit '(j( brol!'s conoopt of the "l'm.agillilry see Ja~.llclille ~; 'The lmaglns:ry' irI Colin U~GCl!be ~!ld.).The'Talki. Cu~, U"or:J;dOII, Ma.~l1itillan"i, 198 U. FfCfUd, 'Fr:t'5hj~' .p. 3:'17. !?Il/WA~bon. ,A.ll!!thQliQ".SC~", 20(2) lS.llmmt.r 19(9), pp. lS-,],6. f;;l.Jt(m, Blac.k S,kJ~ WlHte Mil7$ks., p. 79.

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