Of Two Minds: The uneasy relationship between postcolonial theory and psychoanalysis

Greedharry, Mrinalini. 2005. Of Two Minds: The uneasy relationship between postcolonial theory and psychoanalysis. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

Psychoanalytic theory has generally been considered politically and epistemologically unsuitable for feminist and anti-racist scholarship, but despite this psychoanalytic language and concepts permeate colonial discourse analysis and postcolonial theory. Indeed, it could even be argued that there is a tradition of psychoanalytic writing in postcolonial studies from Frantz Fanon's Black Skin White Masks and Ashis Nandy's The Intimate Enemy to Homi Bhabha's The Location of Culture. This dissertation examines the work of each of these theorists in order to better understand why they turn to psychoanalysis as a theoretical tool, how they put psychoanalytic concepts to work in their studies of colonialism, and what kinds of problems they encounter as a result. Though each of these writers expands and deepens our understanding of colonialism and its legacies, their studies do not question psychoanalysis as a colonial discourse itself. Furthermore, it is highly significant that Fanon, Nandy and Bhabha's psychoanalytic deployments are not able to either account for the lived experience of the woman of colour, or to locate her in their theoretical frameworks. Deleuze and Guattari's critique of psychoanalysis in Anti-Oedipus is used to explore some of the connections between psychoanalysis and colonialism that Fanon, Nandy and Bhabha do not discuss. Nevertheless, in order to answer the broader question of the woman of colour, the final chapter proposes that instead of using psychoanalysis as a theoretical instrument we should turn psychoanalysis into an object of colonial discourse analysis.

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Thesis (Doctoral)

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psychoanalytic writing, Fanon, Nandy, psychoanalytic Language, Bhabha, postcolonial theory.



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Date Deposited:

14 Jul 2020 15:57

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:17



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