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Identification and Disavowal in Colonial Representations

  • Alex Padamsee

Abstract

To insist upon this ‘coupling’ of ‘Mohammedan’ to ‘Anglo-Indian’ is unexceptional in the context of the theories of colonial discourse analysis inaugurated by Edward Said’s Orientalism. But it is necessary to go further than merely confirming the ‘production’ of Eastern subjects for a Western Metropolitan audience as a process of identity-formation dependent on a discourse of ‘Otherness’1 (available here, for instance, in a reading of ‘Mahommedanism’ in India as so many points of inversion between the anatomised Muslims and the inferred, integrated ideal of British Christians in India). It is necessary, rather, to begin to problematise the casual admission of identification between coloniser and colonised that, it will here be argued, directs the colonial representation of Indian Muslims.

Keywords

Colonial State Ideological Language Disciplinary Power Representational Strategy Mirror Stage 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    Bhabha, ‘The Other Question: Stereotype, Discrimination and the Discourse of Colonialism’, in Homi K Bhabha, The Location of Culture (London: Routledge, 2000), p. 67.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See Bart Moore-Gilbert, Postcolonial, pp. 114–51; and Abdul JanMohamed, ‘The Economy of Manichean Allegory: the Function of Racial Difference in Colonialist Literature’ in Henry Louis Gates (ed.) Race, Writing and Difference (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    Elizabeth Wright, Psychoanalytic Criticism: a Reappraisal (Oxford: Polity Press, 1998), p. 102.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    The seminal study of this racial encoding remains that of Sander L Gilman, Freud, Race, and Gender (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  5. 11.
    For an illuminating analysis of the persistence of the myth of British ‘civility’ into twentieth-century Metropolitan culture, see Jacqueline Rose, States of Fantasy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1998), chapter 3. Some of her insights are taken up in the next chapter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 22.
    Jacques Lacan, ‘The mirror stage as formative of the function of the I as revealed in psychoanalytic experience’, in Lacan, Ecrits: A Selection (London: Routledge, repr. 1999; 1997), trans. Alan Sheridan, pp. 1–7.Google Scholar
  7. 25.
    Lacan, ‘The mirror stage’, in Ecrits, p. 4. An account of the development of this theory can be found in Elisabeth Roudinesco’s ‘The Mirror Stage: an Obliterated Archive’ in Jean-Michel Rabate (ed.) Lacan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 25–34.Google Scholar
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  9. 42.
    This perception of the dependency of the ‘neutral’ colonial state on representing others in order to fill out and validate its own empty contours has been used, in the context of descriptions of religious competition, by Pandey, Construction of Communalism in Colonial North India, passim; and Gauri Viswanathan, Outside the Fold: Conversion, Modernity, and Belief(Delhi: Oxford University Press, repr. 2001; 1998), p. 17.Google Scholar
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    Christopher Pinney, ‘Representations of India: Normalisation and the “Other” ‘, Pacific Viewpoint 29 (2) (October 1988), 150–1.Google Scholar
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    Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (London: Pluto, repr. 1986; 1967), pp. 161–4.Google Scholar
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    Yannis Stavrakakis, Lacan and the Political (London: Routledge, 1999), pp. 67–8.Google Scholar

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© Alex Padamsee 2005

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  • Alex Padamsee

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