The composite community: Thinking through Fanon’s critique of a narrow nationalism

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This article presents Édouard Glissant’s account of a composite community as an articulation of Frantz Fanon’s alternative, de-colonial conception of the nation. It shows that, subsequent to Fanon’s critique of the xenophobia and racism of a narrow nationalism (found in The Wretched of the Earth), we are left with a conception of a national consciousness that registers with what Glissant names, in Poetics of Relation, a composite community in relation. Both accounts ground community in a foundation of difference, process and dynamism, all of which is carried into a collective identity, without the reductive homogenizing practices of most nationbuilding endeavors. As such, the article argues that Glissant’s work is positioned to underscore what, in Fanon’s understanding of national culture, is meant to protect the living dynamism of a people from a chauvinistic ultra-nationalism. Similarly, the work of The Wretched of the Earth can be used to take Glissant’s alternative political ontology into the arena of thinking the nation otherwise.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-57
Number of pages32
JournalCritical Philosophy of Race
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Philosophy

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