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HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE
A Publication of OKCIR: The Omar Khayyam Center for Integrative Research in Utopia, Mysticism, and Science (Utopystics)
ISSN: 1540-5699. © Copyright by Ahead Publishing House (imprint: Okcir Press). All Rights Reserved.
HUMAN
ARCHITECTURE
Journal of the Sociology of Self-
Frantz Fanon’s Theory of Racialization
Implications for Globalization
Nazneen Kane
University of Maryland, College Park
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
[email protected]
Abstract: This article investigates Frantz Fanon’s theory of race and racism. Three constitutive
elements of Frantz Fanon’s racial theory are explored—race as historically situated, race as cul-
turally maintained, and racial constructions as embedded in human ontology. It is argued that
Fanon’s work provides a starting point for bringing conversations of race and racism into global-
ization theories in ways that create space and possibility for human emancipation under twenty-
first century globalization.
INTRODUCTION conceptualizing the social inequalities that
are proliferating under (corporate and na-
In the foreword to Frantz Fanon’s key tional) global aspirations and impositions
text, The Wretched of the Earth (2004 [1961]), of the 21st Century.
Homi Bhabha states that Fanon’s work pro- Over the past decade, several contem-
vides the conceptual tools necessary for cri- porary social theories of globalization have
tiquing contemporary processes of emerged from diverse disciplinary loca-
globalization. Bhabha states that while tions (Roberston 2001), many of which
Fanon’s scholarship draws from localized grapple with the restructuring of such so-
experiences under European colonization, cial inequalities. While these theories are
it is able to transcend these historically sit- broad in scope, several themes have
uated immediacies.1 This transcendent, emerged from this body of literature. The
timeless quality of Fanon’s work is partly role of the nation-state in processes of glo-
attributed to the “racial optic” (xiii) bal formations (Appadurai 1996, Bauman
through which Fanon analyzes the colonial 1998, Huntington 1996, Hardt and Negri
condition. Consequently, argues Bhabha, 2000, Robertson 2001, Sklair 2002) and the
Fanon’s work can serve as a blueprint for nature of the relationship between global
and local economies and cultures (Appadu-
1 Fanon, too, makes this assertion. For ex- rai 1996, Bryman 2003, Caldwell 2004, Kell-
ample, in Black Skin, White Masks (1967), he ner 2002, Pieterse 2004, Ritzer 2004a and
draws from his lived experience in Antilles but 2004b, Robertson 1995, Rosenau 2003, Tom-
argues that this experience can be universalized
to conceptualize colonial conditions and black- linson 1999, Turner 2003, Urry 2003)2 are
white relations generally (1967: 14, 18, 25). two major themes centered in these aca-
Nazneen Kane is graduate student at the University of Maryland, College Park. She is interested in engag-
ing with critical social theories through a sociology of knowledge lens.
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007, 353-362 353
354 NAZNEEN KANE
demic debates. Despite a wide range of per- treatment of race as it intersects with the
spectives, underlying these debates is the economies of colonies. I am particularly in-
shared assumption that globalization is terested in how Fanon’s racial theory might
fundamentally determined by the eco- be utilized for understanding processes of
nomic aspirations of global and national in- global flows and frictions in more critical
stitutions (transnational corporations, ways. In a historical moment in which color-
nation-states, NGOs, etc.). Consequently, blind racism is pervasive (Bonilla-Silva
the canonical works of this relatively na- 2003, Brown et. al. 2003, Goldberg 2002,
scent interdisciplinary field of study fail to Guinier and Torres 2002, Winant 2001) and
investigate how race and racism constitute its consequences materially and psycholog-
organizing principles of globalization pro- ically harmful, I feel this is an important the-
cesses. This systematic omission of the ra- oretical project. I conclude by suggesting
cialization of economic and socio-political that theories of globalization must include
processes places serious limitations on glo- processes of racialization in order to be
balization theory’s ability to remain critical transformative and emancipatory.
and to foster human emancipation in the In this essay, I use as a starting point
21st Century. If globalization theories co- Bhabha’s unexplored insight, that Fanon’s
opt the “post-race” assumptions of the sta- “racial optic” (xiii) constitutes a major con-
tus quo, they risk reproducing color-blind tribution to globalization studies. I first in-
ideologies, that is, the notion that race no vestigate how Fanon conceptualizes race
longer matters and that racism is not struc- in/under colonization and decolonization
tural but merely a problem of a few indi- and how this conceptualization can be en-
viduals (Bonilla-Silva 2003). gaged to inform and contest the narratives
This article seeks to contest the absence that are being told about global processes
of the “racial optic” in this body of knowl- and global citizens in dominant theoretical
edge by investigating more closely the texts. That is, this first section is concerned
questions raised by Bhabha, questions that with the structural organization of global
have remained largely unexplored despite formations. Secondly, I more closely inves-
their timely relevance. Fanon’s work is tigate how Fanon theorizes the concept of
engaged as a site for re-theorizing global- race, that is, the content of his construct. I
ization through an intersectional, multidi- will argue that an application of Fanon’s
mensional lens. Placing Fanon’s work in theoretical conceptualization to globaliza-
conversation with theories of globalization tion theory can allow for more emancipa-
is a means not only for creating new repre- tory potential in the so-called “post-race,”
sentations of the social world but also for “postcolonial” era.
contesting the myth of color-blindness and
the status quo with which it colludes. RACE AND RACISM AS ORGANIZING
Thus, below, I undergo a close reading PRINCIPLES OF SOCIETY
of two of Fanon’s key texts, The Wretched of
the Earth (2004[1961]) and Black Skin, White
In Wretched of the Earth, Fanon makes a
Masks (1967) to more closely explore his
statement that marks a profound contribu-
tion to contemporary globalization theory.
2 This debate is often expressed in polarized
terms with one camp arguing globalization to be …it is clear that what divides this
producing homogeneous cultures and/or econ- world is first and foremost what
omies (i.e., Ritzer’s “McDonaldization” thesis),
and others arguing globalization to be a hetero- species, what race one belongs to.
geneous process (i.e., Robertson’s “glocaliza- In the colonies the economic infra-
tion” thesis).
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
FRANTZ FANON’S THEORY OF RACIALIZATION 355
structure is also a superstructure. Fanon’s conceptualization of co-depen-
The cause is effect: You are rich be- dent dimensions provides a useful starting
cause you are white, you are white point for globalization theorists who wish
because you are rich. (5) to take seriously the widening disparities
both between and within contemporary
Extending Marxism, Fanon reminds nation-states. Under 21st Century global-
the reader of a key concept—that racism is ization, the problematic of singular decon-
not merely a superstructural effect of a de- structions are clear. The systems of power
terminant economic base—it is an organiz- that produced colonial formations have
ing principle of society. For Fanon, class reformulated and, hiding behind the myth
and race gain meaning from one another; of neoliberalism, are reproducing the same
they are co-constituted as opposed to caus- inequities. Globalization theories, however,
ally related. Neither class nor race predeter- have failed to consider these processes with
mines or is a consequence of the other; a “racial optic.” To engage Fanon’s work to
rather, each is dialectically co-produced. understand these new reformulations of
Fanon argues this repeatedly throughout power can generate critical analysis.
Black Skin, White Masks (1967) and The To pay attention to the racialization of
Wretched of the Earth (2004). Any order, he economic formations creates space for hu-
argues, is simultaneously a racial order and man emancipation. Equality based on a
an economic order. The reader is reminded monolithic dimension of power produces
of this throughout Fanon’s continual criti- short-sighted, and potentially ineffective
cisms of various scholars, particularly psy- social change, for economic inequality will
choanalysts who fail to theorize the “inner continue to manifest itself through racial
relationships between consciousness and inequality. Theorizing race, then, is neces-
the social context” (1967:97, 100) and who sary for theorizing globalization. However,
fail to theorize how that context is racial- it is not simply enough to incorporate race.
ized. It also matters how race is conceptualized.
In connecting the psyche to the social
milieu, Fanon’s sociological imagination is DE-MYSTIFYING RACE: TOWARD
necessarily intersectional—race and class
EMANCIPATION
co-constitute one another through processes
of differentiation that form specific kinds of
spatial barriers between (poor) people of Decolonization can truly be
color and (rich) white people. The borders achieved only with the destruction
within colonized regions, argues Fanon, of the Manichaeanism of the cold
segregate not only the wealthy from the war…” (Bhabha 2004:xiv)
poor, but also produces clearly demarcated
racial formations. The colonized sector is Although processes of racialization
not only a world of “white folks,” but is also may operate and manifest themselves dif-
a world whose “belly is permanently full of ferently over space and time, the notion
good things” (2004:4). On the other side of that race is an organizing principle of social
this decadent border, however, is a “sector
of niggers, a sector of towelheads” that is 3 See Fanon’s discussion of black-white love
“hungry for bread, meat, shoes, coal, and relations in Black Skin, White Masks. Here he dis-
light” (2004:4-5). Thus, racial inferiority is cusses the inauthenticity of interracial love; love
cannot be present when feelings of inferiority
often felt and realized economically, how- are present. Women of color, argues Fanon, de-
ever, it is not merely conceptualized as a de- sire white men to feel more white. In this discus-
pendent variable of the economy (1967).3 sion, Fanon also discusses how these feelings of
inferiority are realized economically.
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
356 NAZNEEN KANE
life can inform our understanding not only their work by adding the racial dimension.
of national formations (as in Fanon’s work) As he does this, he explores human com-
but also of global formations. There are, parison and its essential participation in the
however, many ways of conceptualizing construction of inferiority and superiority
race and there is nothing inherently libra- based on racial signification. He explains
tory about including race. It is, rather, the the role of comparison in the ongoing and
way in which race is understood that mat- circular accumulation of racist ideologies in
ters. For Fanon, what is race? In this section the colonies. Human comparison, he ar-
I investigate how Fanon conceptualizes gues, is what bestows individuals with
race. I attempt to deconstruct the assump- their sense of inferiority and superiority, in
tions that underlie his race theory. A close effect, with their sense of human worth and
analysis revealed three core themes around esteem. The Antillean Negro and the colo-
which the construct of race is understood: nizer exist as inferior and superior only as
race as a historical accomplishment, race as they recognize themselves in relation to the
culturally maintained, and racial construc- Other. Each understands the other only in
tions as embedded in human ontology. relation to what they are not (the colonizer
is not black, the colonized is not white) and
Race as a Historical Accomplishment from this relational comparison emerges
polarized collective identities with struc-
For Fanon, race is not a biological trait tural consequences.
but, rather, a historically constructed phe- Thus, for Fanon, it is not only differ-
nomenon and culturally mediated artifact. ence that is historically constructed but also
Fanon’s work offers a genealogy of race, a the social signifieds, the system of (de)valu-
history of decolonization, illustrating how ation, associated with that difference. The
the (wealthy, white) colonizer exists only poor material circumstances associated
through his relationship with the (poor, with the black body is not a natural conse-
dark) colonized (2004:2). quence of his inferior status, but has a
“historico-racial schema” (1967:111). In this
For not only must the black man be schema, the “white man” has constructed a
black; he must be black in relation narrative of the inferiority of blackness
to the white man…his inferiority through “a thousand details, anecdotes,
comes into being through the other. stories” (111); it is through socio-cultural
(1967:110) institutions that the racialized hierarchy
becomes materially and discursively inter-
Each exists only through the other and twined. Fanon avoids a teleological expla-
the nature of their relationship constructs nation (he is inferior because he is dark, he
their ontological polarization. Wealth exists is dark so he is inferior) by understanding
in relationship to poverty, indeed is predi- meaning as formed through colonization.
cated upon poverty and whiteness exists Race comes into being as an accomplishment.
only through the social construction of This accomplishment becomes further
blackness. embedded through the “culture industry”
Fanon devotes an entire chapter (The (Horkheimer and Adorno’s phrase).
Negro and Recognition) to this notion of re-
lationality. A trained psychiatrist, Fanon Cultural Artifact
takes on the work of Hegel and of Alfred
Adler, the prominent Austrian psychologist In Black Skin, White Masks, Fanon dena-
of the fin de siecle. So often absent in Euro- tures race by examining the role of colonial
centric scholarship, Fanon expands upon cultures in maintaining and legitimating
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
FRANTZ FANON’S THEORY OF RACIALIZATION 357
the racialized economic hierarchy. He own inferiority. Through this historical pro-
shows how culture operates as the instru- cess, this gradual loss of language and
ment through which the normalization of hence, culture, the history of the colonized
the social construction of race as a system of is buried in the past, its great accomplish-
hierarchical power relations occurs; ments and thinkers lost. To use the lan-
through the culture industry skin pigmen- guage of the colonized is to enter their
tation became deeply imbued with hierar- world, a white privileged world.
chical meaning.
In the colonial world, this system of Ontology
signification became a system of power le-
gitimating white supremacy. The task of For Fanon, this movement to the white
the colonist was to replace indigenous his- world constitutes more than merely a lin-
tories and cultures and replace them with guistic preference; it produces a transfor-
the newly constructed racial ideologies. mation of being, a new ontology. He argues
Fanon explains, particularly in Black Skin, that movement across worlds has the effect
White Masks (1967), how this task came to of separating one from their former physi-
be realized. The racial domination of the cal space but also leads to psychic changes,
colonies was legitimated through racist an actual “mutation” (1967:19) of being, a
propaganda (69), through religious institu- “new way of being” (1967:25), a radical
tions that equated darkness with evil and change in personhood. A black man be-
inhumanity (6-7), all serving to instill “a comes whiter by using the language of the
mood of submission” in subjugated peo- white man, by taking upon himself this
ples. Gradually the overt mechanisms of other world (38). In some ways, Fanon’s
domination became hegemonic, embedded conception of an ontological shift is prob-
in a variety of institutional sites—schools, lematic, for he engages in a discursive colo-
government, criminal justice, and so nization of the very subject whom he
forth—all operating to mediate the polar- desires to free. He calls the colonized
ized racialized economic systems of colo- “duped,” that is, he believes the colonist
nial worlds. Most importantly, racial has tricked the colonized into accepting his
significations are transferred and internal- own inferior social status (1967:29, 31). This
ized into the psyches and structures of soci- constitutes alienation, a consequence of the
ety through the cultural component of imposed “psychological-economic system”
language. (1967:35). Here we see that for Fanon, racial
In Black Skin, White Masks (1967) Fanon boundaries are certainly clearly demar-
is particularly interested in investigating cated and polarized, but they are not fixed
the movement of racism through culture, by skin color nor is this system a natural
particularly language. He states that, “to consequence of skin color but, rather, of
speak is to exist absolutely for the other…. cultural-historical processes.
To speak means to be in a position to use a Fanon rejects the possibility of a Negro
certain syntax, to grasp the morphology of essence (for example, the myth of the hy-
this or that language, but it means above all persexualized black man) arguing that bio-
to assume a culture…” (1967:17). When the logical determinism is an ideology of the
colonized speak the language of the op- colonial master and a premise for racial
pressor, they co-opt the racist ideologies of othering. To search for the essence of a race,
that world that are woven into speech. To is to fail to understand how historical and
co-opt the language of the colonizer is to economic realities have shaped the lives of
co-opt racism and to “betray” one’s own Negroes (see esp. 1967:160-161, footnote on
self and culture, and to internalize one’s 161). Following this premise, if there is no
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
358 NAZNEEN KANE
Negro essence, there is also no automatic or the rejection of essentialism, the idea that
inherent racial unity (1967:173). That is, one one must remain in the world to which
is not necessarily oppositional because he/ power has assigned. Fanon wants move-
she is racially othered, nor is one inherently ment and communication between the
oppressive because he/she is white. In so raced sectors and this movement and com-
arguing, Fanon rejects essentialism, univer- munication is made possible only by un-
salism, and the tendency in scholarship to derstanding each others’ worlds (1967:231),
produce monolithic racial categories that indeed, through recognition of the other
do not intersect with other dimensions of (1967:218). It must be a mutual, dialogic
power (for example, class). recognition and “authentic communica-
If race is culturally and historically sit- tion” (1967:231).
uated as opposed to a reified fact of biology,
then potential for liberation is possible. Both must turn their backs on the
While it is in the racialized interest of the inhuman voices which were those
colonist to naturalize race (normalized of their respective ancestors in or-
through violent imposition and through der that authentic communication
culture), Fanon removes his conceptualiza- be possible. Before it can adopt a
tion from essentialism through a definition positive voice, freedom requires an
of race that demystifies race. effort at dis- alienation…Superiori-
Instead, for Fanon, although race has ty? Inferiority? Why not the simple
materialized in very discrete and polarized attempt to touch the other, to feel
forms, it is possible for individuals to shift the other, to explain the other to
between these polarized worlds. One myself? (1967:231).
world, the world of the colonized, is white/
rich/powerful and the “other” world, the Fanon’s new world is not one that is
opposite world of the colonized is charac- composed of categorical, hierarchical, divi-
terized as the black/poor/alienated world. sions. And this new world is not attainable
This is what Fanon referred to as the “com- through the actions of any single racialized
partmentalized” sectors of the colonial con- world. Both oppressor and oppressed must
dition (2004). Yet, Fanon often refers to the travel to the world of the other, love the
mobility of individuals between these other, for both are unconscious, both are
worlds. One is “white” only when he/she alienated. What is significant is that disa-
internalizes racial hierarchy and seeks after lienation requires two-sided movement.
the vain things of the world. Thus, he often For the colonized to become knowledge-
refers to middle class, urban-dwelling An- able of history may lead to intellectual disa-
tilleans as white. lienation, yet, this is not full emancipation
Initially, it may seem fatalistic to read of for it cannot produce racial equality—it is
the internalization of inferiority, of oppres- one-sided movement. Because race is rela-
sion that is psycho-affective, it is also in this tional, the racialized other, the Negro, can-
conceptualization that space for emancipa- not become conscious until the colonizer
tion or “disalienation” emerges. Fanon con- recognizes the colonized, until he moves to
cludes that racial equality can only come the world of the colonized, until he
through the rejection of essential racial cat- “knows” the colonized. This can occur only
egories. It is not merely through recogni- through movement to that world for the
tion that cultural and social institutions are colonized cannot “recognize” (1967:218)
racialized (that race is relational), argues the colonized until he shifts to this other
Fanon, but through movement between world.
these compartmentalized world, through This movement is transformative, it
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
FRANTZ FANON’S THEORY OF RACIALIZATION 359
constitutes an ontological shift, a change in sire of every culture or civilization to com-
one’s very being. It is not mere lip-service plete itself in/through the Other is clearly
but to go to the world of the colonized not played out on an even field…”
marks a change in the being of the colo- (2002:117). Because globalization is directly
nizer. Likewise, when the colonized go to related to the polarization of inequality
the world of whiteness, for Fanon, they lit- along race, gender and class lines it is be-
erally become white as they internalize all coming increasingly exigent that globaliza-
the ideologies of the colonizing world. By tion theory move away from this
rejecting the essential category race, Fanon carnivalesque approach of cultural hybrid-
rejects that the powerful and disempow- ity, creolization, and global sharing.
ered are fixed in their alienated states. All Fanon’s racial theory provides a start-
can become conscious, the world(s) can ing point for critiquing the polarizing ten-
fight the tendential movement toward so- dencies of global formations. While he does
cial entropy. Thus, he concludes Black Skin, not incorporate gender (and sexuality), he
White Masks by stating, “I want the world to provides a framework for incorporating
recognize, with me, the open door of every these other dimensions of power in inter-
consciousness” (1967:232). sectional ways. By theorizing a construct
It is the way in which he defines and that embodies movement between polar-
understands the concept of race that gives ized worlds, he also provides the tools for a
Fanon’s work its emancipatory quality; in praxis that breaks down the Manichaean
his characterization is embedded the po- tendencies of globalization. One’s geo-
tential for liberation from the psychological graphical, class, and race need not make
and material consequences of racism. In one’s situation as the oppressor/oppressed
fact, in Black Skin, White Masks (1967) Fanon inevitable. Those living in more privileged
clearly states that his purpose for writing “sectors” can become conscious, responsi-
the text is to seek social justice (12, 30); ble, and subversive. As Paulo Freire (1981)
Fanon is hopeful—he envisions a world argues, the process of humanization re-
where it is possible for both the white and quires all to shift to a dialogic world that
black man to become “disalienated” (12). breaks down the binaries of an oppressor-
His racial theory embodies this hope. oppressed world.
Deconstructing particular “case stud-
RACISM: FANON & GLOBALIZATION ies” can illustrate the ways in which an in-
tersectional lens matters for understanding
globalization. For instance, Oil conglomer-
While some globalization theories have
ate ExxonMobil has extracted over $40 bil-
a nihilistic vision of an unstoppable “jug-
lion from its operations in Aceh, Indonesia,
gernaut” (Bauman 1998) or a “runaway
where the company has operations on the
world” (Giddens 2000), others optimisti-
Arun gas field, one of the largest gas fields
cally envision a global world of dialogic
in the world (Democracy Now! 2005). They
sharing of some abstract category called
also hire units from the Indonesian Na-
“difference” (Turner 2003). In both models,
tional Army to act as security forces that
it is unclear how power is conceptualized
protect these operations. These units have
and the workings of racism are entirely ab-
been charged with brutalizing the local
sent. Krishnaswamy (2002) states, “Un-
population through rapes, murders, prop-
doubtedly there is (and always has been)
erty destruction and torture. ExxonMobil is
considerable cultural exchange between
charged with continuing to finance these
the West and the rest; but it does not make
units despite ongoing human rights viola-
for a great big dialogical carnival. The de-
tions.
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
360 NAZNEEN KANE
Lawyers from the Washington, D.C., Fanon and hopes for a more robust under-
based advocacy organization, the Interna- standing of the global citizen that leads to a
tional Labor Rights Fund, have filed suit reclaiming of the global subject under/in
against the company in attempts to hold the frictions and flows that work through
them accountable for this systematic terror. the oppressive structures of globalization.
ExxonMobil continues to deny its role and Emphasizing vast transformations in
responsibility to Acehnese peoples. Becom- and related to capitalist organization, glo-
ing curious about these types of corporate balization theories often privilege the eco-
crimes certainly leads one to an under- nomic realm. Indeed, it is difficult, if not
standing of global inequalities as economi- impossible, to discuss neoliberal capital re-
cally-driven. Not only is exploitation based structuring when theorizing globalization.
upon the extrapolation of raw resources, However, that capitalism is a racialized
impoverishing the local peoples, but it is structure, that is, that the way in which cap-
precisely that this world is occupied by italism organizes and materializes, has
(gendered/sexualized) racialized Others failed to be incorporated into mainstream
that makes their exploitation justifiable to globalization theories. That some are privi-
white, Western eyes. An economic analysis leged, and others marginalized, by global
of such a situation reduces the complexity capital is clearly related to who becomes
and modes of power through which ine- classified as Other. Systematically, eco-
quality operates. Globalization theorists nomic macro processes play out such that
have played a central and important role in certain groups of bodies, the simulta-
understanding the relationship between neously constructed and materially
the globalization of neoliberal capital and marked dark/sensual/erotic/animalistic
increasing global economic inequality, body is made other in these macro pro-
however, a singular lens is too reductionis- cesses. Yet, globalization theory rarely be-
tic. comes curious about why it is that
globalization realizes according to rigid ra-
CONCLUSION cial lines—why it privileges certain social
groups and not others. Putting globaliza-
tion theory into conversation with Fanon
This article has analyzed several com-
can potentially build both theoretical stud-
ponents of Frantz Fanon’s racial theory.
ies of globalization as well as the stream of
Through an intersectional lens, Fanon’s
postcolonial theory that has been influ-
work seeks not only to include race as an
enced by Fanon’s work.
organizing principle of colonization, but
Fanon wrote for social change, a neces-
also to understand it in ways that do the
sary component for theories that aim for
work of demystification and create space
critical consciousness and human emanci-
for possibility, for human emancipation,
pation (Collins 1998). Fanon does not be-
from the oppressive structures that con-
lieve the status quo is inevitable or
strain the collective psyche. To not do this,
unchangeable. Race is not essential but
is to collude with the status quo.
rather socially constructed and culturally
An underlying assumption of this arti-
imposed. All people, regardless of identity,
cle is that the erasure of race and racism in
can exert their agency in ways that break
globalization literature contributes to the
down the false binaries that oppress and
reformulation of racism through colorblind
make life difficult and unbearable for many
ideologies and frameworks. This project
under 21st Century globalization practices.
seeks to speak to this problematic theoreti-
cal omission through the work of Frantz
HUMAN ARCHITECTURE: JOURNAL OF THE SOCIOLOGY OF SELF-KNOWLEDGE, V, SPECIAL DOUBLE-ISSUE, SUMMER 2007
FRANTZ FANON’S THEORY OF RACIALIZATION 361
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