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It often involves both essentialism and othering.


In particular, a return to the original indigenous language is often advocated since the language was suppressed by colonizing forces. The use of European languages is a much debated issue among postcolonial authors. A weaving together elements we tend to associate with European realism and elements we associate with the fabulous, where these two worlds undergo a "closeness or near merging.

Maps were used to assist in the process of aggression, and they were also used to establish claims. Maps claims the boundaries of a nation, for example.

A metanarrative claims to be a big truth concerning the world and the way it works. Some charge that all metanarratives are inherently oppressive because they decide whether other narratives are allowed or not. Such an approach always contains it in the ambivalence of hybridity.

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National interest is associated both with a struggle for independent ethnic and cultural identity, and ironically an opposite belief in universal rights, often multicultural, with a basis in geo-economic interests. Thus, the move for national independence is just as often associated with region as it is with ethnicity or culture, and the two are often at odds when new nations are formed.

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If his living standards are high, it is because those of the colonized are low; if he can benefit from plentiful and undemanding labor and servants, it is because the colonized can be exploited at will and are not protected by the laws of the colony; if he can easily obtain administrative positions, it is because the are reserved for him and the colonized are excluded from them; the more freely he breathes, the more the colonized are choked. However, the facts of colonial life are not simply ideas, but are the general effect of actual conditions.

To refuse means either withdrawing physically from those conditions or remaining to fight and change them. But in so doing, by choosing to place themselves in the colonizer's service to protect his interests exclusively, they end up by adopting his ideology, even with regard to their own values and their own lives.

The Colonizer and the Colonized

Assimilation being refused [to] him, as we shall see, nothing is left for him but to live isolated from his age. He is driven back by colonization and, to a certain extent, lives with that situation. Planning and building his future are forbidden. He must therefore limit himself to the present, and even that present is cut off and abstract.


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Being unable to change his condition in harmony and communion with the colonizer, he tries to become free despite him … he will revolt. Far from being surprised at the revolts of colonized peoples, we should be, on the contrary, surprised that they are not more frequent and more violent.

Will he be a usurper and affirm the oppression and injustice to the true inhabitant of the colony? Will he accept being a colonizer under the growing habit of privilege and illegitimacy, under the constant gaze of the usurped?

Most startling of all is Sartre's advocacy of violence as a legitimate response to repression, motivated by his belief that freedom is the central characteristic of being human. Whether one agrees with his every conclusion or not, Colonialism and Neocolonialism shows a philosopher passionately engaged in using philosophy as a force for change in the world.

An important influence on postcolonial thought ever since, this book takes on added resonance in the light of the West's most recent bout of interference in the non-Western world.