post colonial theory
post colonial theorya wide-ranging body of economic, social and cultural critique that investigates the conditions arising from and pertaining to the formation of empires, the impact of colonial rule and its aftermath. Generally indicating the time after World War II when imperial rule began to crumble in colonized nations, post colonialism raised issues of nationality, cultural identity and the use of language as a means of oppression. One of the most notable writers in this field was Frantz FANON whose contribution to the debate, Black Skin, White Masks, yielded further critique from writers such as Edward SAID and Albert MEMMI. Providing psychoanalytical, historical and cultural analysis of colonial rule, they argued that imperialism produced inferior subjects by devaluing the domestic language and culture, which in turn affected both their own sense of identity and outside perception of the culture. However, as post colonial theory emerged as a growing discourse, writers such as Homi Bhabha and Stuart HALL began to question the value of promoting an essentialist vision of society when identity has evolved beyond any set idea of singular subjectivity. Here notions of‘hybridity’ and ‘syncretism’ have been developed in order to highlight the diasporic (see DIASPORA) and global nature of post-colonial culture, where the subject can make use of a myriad of identities in order to constitute a fluid self-image.
Collins Dictionary of Sociology, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2000