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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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Thinking Through Creolization

Thinking Through Creolization

(p.162) 5 Thinking Through Creolization
Creolizing Political Theory

Jane Anna Gordon

Fordham University Press

This chapter advances creolization as a more accurate portrait of the workings of culture than the alternatives of multiculturalism and hybridity. Explaining the origins of the concept in efforts to make sense of forms of mixture among unequal groups that were supposed to be radically separated, the discussion draws on studies of creole linguistics to identify core features of creolized products. Although critical of Caribbean writing that prescribes creolization, processes of creolization are distinguished from particular instantiations of creolized mixture that are singled out and prized by those seeking exclusive political power. Emphasizing that creolization does not emerge when it is sought and instead when it is allowed to take place, the distinctiveness of progressive forms of creolization are described through an engagement of Vijay Prasad’s discussion of polyculturalism. The chapter concludes by arguing for the creolizing of the study of politics over and against movements toward the intensified decreolization of the field of political science. Doing this involves grappling with heterogeneity not as discrete pockets of a fractured world but as co-constituting and co-situating one another. Put differently, there can be nothing remotely approximating a public good that is not thoroughly creolized.

Keywords:   creolization, decreolization, political theory, culture, multiculturalism, Caribbean, polyculturalism, illicit blendings, political science, heterogeneity

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