Literature

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  • Topic: Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe, Colonialism
  • Pages : 9 (3688 words )
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  • Published : April 9, 2013
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RE-WRITING THE COLONIAL DISCOURSE

Written by: Nouha Mahjoubi
Supervised by: Professor Beltaif

The world’s structure today is tightly linked to the historical development and events. One of the most noticeable historical processes is colonization. The British Empire was one of the greatest imperialist powers. It is through colonization that the Western world is gaining a kind of prominence and domination in the world. The influence of colonization may not be very obvious nowadays as the concrete and direct conquest is over. Yet, a deeper observation would reveal the continuation of the process of colonization called “neocolonialism”. It is not a military or armed invasion, it rather an intellectual, ideological, political, and economic colonization. The most prominent type of neocolonialism may be the economic one. This is obvious through the economic dependency of the “third world” on the western or developed world. In terms of cultural and ideological features, neocolonialism is also there. The former colonized nations do adopt their ex colonizer’s cultural traditions or practices in an attempt to reach development through imitating the developed nations. This may lead us to a relevant notion in this context which is universalism. It is under the umbrella of universalism that the developed and former imperialist powers still practice authority and dominance. Any practice or feature created by the west is judged to be universal whether economic processes, political regimes or even cultural aspects like fashion, music, and language. Assuming that the European practices are universal, the process of neocolonialism is ensured and continuing. This fact does inevitably contribute in the effacement of the non European cultures and identities as a whole. Considering that the economic independence is still a hard task for the developing and former colonized nations, other tools of resisting the European powers are introduced. These tools are mainly ideological and intellectual ones. No one can deny that one of the facilitators of neocolonialism is the image depicted by the Europeans and Westerners in general about the non Europeans nations. It is through degrading these countries that Europe justifies and legitimizes its ongoing process of domination and authority. Beside the concrete practices of Europe on its former subjects-embodied for example in the economic investments that obviously look like economic supports but actually it reinforces exploitation and economic dependency- the developed world shows a sense of superiority through intellectual practices particularly through literature. This process has started since earlier centuries that witnessed the celebration of the British Empire as one of the most brilliant and flourishing powers in the world. Our main focus can be considered as one of the examples of what is known as “colonial discourse” or “Western canon” and its counterpart is known as “the counter discourse” or “the post colonial writing”. The former is embodied in Robison Crusoe by Daniel Defoe and the latter in Foe by J.M Coetzee. Africa is one of the central colonial subjects of the British Empire. Even after its independence, Africa still suffers from identity problems caused by the territorial colonization and the intellectual one too. The intellectual or abstract colonization is embodied in the concept created in the mind of the colonized; the idea that they are inferior, savage, ignorant, inhuman, and incapable of self-governing. Through seeding such notions in the colonized nations, the colonizer ensures its domination and authority and legitimizes the invasion of other countries. The white man is therefore considered as the rescuer or saver of the other nations; it is “the white man’s burden” or what is also called “the civilizing mission” that places the colonized in the inferior position waiting for the “divine duty” of the white man to save him. The colonizer is thus imbued with notions of...
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