-Volume 52, Number 4, July 2000
Degrees of Democracy: Some Comparative Lessons from India
World Politics - Volume 52, Number 4, July 2000, pp. 484-519
The Johns Hopkins University Press
Chinua Achebe Writing Culture: Representations of Gender and Tradition in Things Fall Apart Osei-Nyame, Godwin Kwadwo, 1967-
Research in African Literatures, Volume 30, Number 2, Summer 1999, pp. 148-164 Subject Headings:
Achebe, Chinua. Things fall apart.
Culture in literature.
Masculinity in literature.
In lieu of an abstract, here is a preview of the article.
Wherever something stands,
there something else will stand.
While Achebe's early novels have been popularly received for their representation of an early African nationalist tradition that repudiates imperialist and colonialist ideology, his counter-narratives have only been narrowly discussed for their theoretical speculation on cultural and ideological production as a mode of resistance within the nationalist tradition that the texts so evidently celebrate. My epigraph not only recognizes that the definition of "tradition" in Achebe's work hinges upon ideological conflict, it comments also on the varying forms of consciousness that arise within discourses of self-definition within Igbo traditional culture. Moreover, it communicates the idea of complex rather than simple relationships between individuals and groups in the world of Achebe's "fictional" Igbo communities. This essay intends an appropriation of Bakhtin's notion of "heteroglossia" and dialogism in its exploration of some concerns relevant to the question of the representation of ideology in Things Fall Apart. Bakhtin's notion of dialogism views narrative discourses as forms of social exchange that locate "the very basis" of individual and social "behaviour" within conflicting worldviews and "determine the very bases" of "ideological interrelations" in a manner similar to that found in Achebe's narrative. Novelistic discourse thus performs "no longer as [mere] information, directions, rules, models," but enables us to locate dialogue in its more immediate ideological and political context (342). Hayden White implies something of this immediacy of context when he suggests distinguishing between "a discourse that openly adopts a perspective that looks out on the world and reports it" and one that "make[s] the world speak itself and speak itself as a story" (2). -
-This article draws on the case of India to address the question of democratization by exploring the dynamic interplay of the formal, effective, and substantive dimensions of democracy. Fifty-three years of almost uninterrupted democratic rule in India have done little to reduce the political, social, and economic marginalization of India's popular classes. Within India the state of Kerala stands out as an exception. Democratic institutions have effectively managed social conflict and have also helped secure substantive gains for subordinate classes. Kerala's departure from the national trajectory is located in historical patterns of social mobilization that coalesced around lower-class interests and produced forms of state-society engagement conducive to democratic deepening. Contrary to much of the transition literature, this case suggests that high levels of mobilization and redistributive demands have democracy-enhancing effects. -
Every human being, in addition to having their own personal identity, has a sense of who they are in relation to the larger community--the nation. Postcolonial studies is the attempt to strip away conventional perspective and examine what that national identity might be for a postcolonial subject. To read literature from the perspective of postcolonial studies is to seek out--to listen for, that indigenous, representative voice which can inform the world...