On the Postcolony

  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Dimensions and Pages: 
  • Paperback EAN: 978 1 86814 691 8
  • Rights: Africa
  • Recommended Price (ZAR): 320.00
  • Recommended Price (USD): n/a

First published in 2001, Achille Mbembe’s landmark book, On the Postcolony, continues to renew our understanding of power and subjectivity in Africa. This edition has been updated with a foreword by professor of African Literature, Isabel Hofmeyr, and a preface by the author.

In a series of provocative essays, Mbembe contests diehard Africanist and nativist perspectives as well as some of the key assumptions of postcolonial theory. Through his provocation, the ‘banality of power’, Mbembe reinterprets the meanings of death, utopia and the divine libido as part of the new theoretical perspectives he offers on the constitution of power in Africa. He works with the complex registers of bodily subjectivity — violence, wonder and laughter — to contest categories of oppression and resistance, autonomy and subjection, and state and civil society that marked the social theory of the late twentieth century.

On the Postcolony, like Frantz Fanon’s Black Skins, White Masks, will remain a text of profound importance in the discourse of anti-colonial and anti-imperial struggles.

On the Postcolony

– a Foreword by Isabel Hofmeyer v

Preface to the African Edition xiii

Introduction: Time on the Move 1

  1. Of Commandement 24
  2. On Private Indirect Government 66
  3. The Aesthetics of Vulgarity 102
  4. The thing and Its Doubles 142
  5. Out of the World 173
  6. God’s Phallus 212

Conclusion: The Final Manner 235

Bibliography 245

Index 271

ACHILLE MBEMBE is a philosopher, political scientist, and public intellectual based at WiSER (Wits Institute of Social and Economic Research), University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg.
His previous works include: Johannesburg: the elusive metropolis, which he co-edited with Sarah Nuttall, and Sortir de la grande nuit.

“An uncanny breach in the commonplaces of thought” – Ato Quayson, Director, Centre for Diaspora and Transnational Studies, University of Toronto

“In the decade since its publication, On the Postcolony has proven one of the most lastingly provocative and stimulating contributions to the theoretical literature on the postcolonial state in sub-Saharan Africa” – Mikael Karlström, Researcher, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago

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