Decolonisation, Identity, Neo-Colonialism and Power

Keywords: decolonisation, economic, Empire, identity, neo-colonialism, neoliberalism


This paper explores the implications of “decolonisation,†first by focusing on the work of African thinker, Frantz Fanon’s work in this regard, particularly his insistence that decolonisation entails the creation of “new†people, before moving on to the related question of “identity.†Here the emphasis is on the work of Manuel Castells, specifically his examination of three kinds of identity-construction, the third of which he regards as being the most important category for understanding this process in the 21st century, namely “resistance identity.†It is argued that this casts the decolonisation debate in South Africa in an intelligible light. An interpretation of E.M. Forster’s paradigmatically “decolonising†novel, A Passage to India, is offered to unpack the meaning of the concept further, before switching the terrain to the question of the urgent need for a different kind of decolonisation, today, pertaining to the economic neo-colonisation of the world by neoliberal capitalism. The work of Hardt and Negri on the emerging world order under what they call “Empire†is indispensable in this regard, and their characterisation of the subject under neoliberal Empire in terms of the figures of the indebted, securitised, mediatised and represented, stresses the need for global decolonisation in the name of democracy. This part of the paper is concluded with a consideration of what decolonisation is really “all about,†namely power.


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Author Biography

Bert Olivier, University of the Free State

Senior Research Fellow
Department of Philosophy
University of the Free State