The Wretched of the Earth: a Review

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The Wretched Of The Earth: A Review

Fanon's book, "The Wretched Of The Earth" like Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" question the basic assumptions that underlie society. Both books writers come from vastly different perspectives and this shapes what both authors see as the technologies that keep the populace in line. Foucault coming out of the French intellectual class sees technologies as prisons, family, mental institutions, and other institutions and cultural traits of French society. In contrast Frantz Fanon (1925-1961) born in Martinique into a lower middle class family of mixed race ancestry and receiving a conventional colonial education sees the technologies of control as being the white colonists of the third world. Fanon at first was a assimilationist thinking colonists and colonized should try to build a future together. But quickly Fanon's assimilationist illusions were destroyed by the gaze of metropolitan racism both in France and in the colonized world. He responded to the shattering of his neo- colonial identity, his white mask, with his first book, Black Skin, White Mask, written in 1952 at the age of twenty-seven and originally titled "An Essay for the Disalienation of Blacks." Fanon defined the colonial relationship as one of the non recognition of the colonized's humanity, his subjecthood, by the colonizer in order to justify his exploitation.

Fanon's next novel, "The Wretched Of The ` ``Earth" views the colonized world from the perspective of the colonized. Like Foucault's questioning of a disciplinary society Fanon questions the basic assumptions of colonialism. He questions whether violence is a tactic that should be employed to eliminate colonialism. He questions whether native intellectuals who have adopted western methods of thought and urge slow decolonization are in fact part of the same technology of control that the white world employs to exploit the colonized. He questions whether the colonized world should...
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