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Creolizing Political TheoryReading Rousseau through Fanon$
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Jane Anna Gordon

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780823254811

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823254811.001.0001

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Fanonian National Consciousness

Fanonian National Consciousness

(p.129) 4 Fanonian National Consciousness
Creolizing Political Theory

Jane Anna Gordon

Fordham University Press

This chapter explores how Frantz Fanon’s national consciousness emerges only out of deliberate challenges to relations of subordination and alienation. Unlike with Rousseau’s general will, in Fanon national consciousness takes shape through collaborative struggles first to oust those people and interests fundamentally opposed to the emergence of an indigenous citizenry’s will and then to move beyond this to the ongoing and dialectic work of creating institutions that would transform a nation that had been appendage to another metropolitan center. While Fanon distinguished the possibilities of national consciousness from the failures of a narrowed and cynical nationalism, it is more of an evocative regulative ideal that captures what is involved in forging a world that is no longer colonial. Precisely because it enables and nurtures ongoing mobilization it is deliberately hijacked in policies that rely on the retreat of most of the citizenry into induced passivity. Fanon’s formulation of national consciousness sustains all of the features that make Rousseau’s idea of the general will compelling while, if not transcending its limitations, productively reexamining them through a creolized lens. These insights are further illuminated in Kwame Gyekye’s of the effective forging of meaningful unity in multinational states.

Keywords:   Fanon, national consciousness, nationalism, general will, creolized political identity, regulative ideal, Gyekye, Rousseau, multinational states

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