Abstract


GLOCALCOLLOQUIES - Vol 1, Issue 1, May, 2015

From Alterity to Transculturation: Revisiting the Postcolonial Space through Deleuze and Agamben

Author: Bhattacharjee, Subashish

Category: Research

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Abstract:

The concept of alterity in the philosophical constructs of the Italian philosopher Giorgio Agamben have had a longstanding intersectionality with the area of postcolonial studies besides the general appropriation of such ideas as homo sacer, “Muselmann”and ‘state of exception’ into mainstream postcolonial studies. However, the inadequacy of Agamben’s philosophical structures to nullify the aporias of postcolonial theory requires intervention from the Deleuzoguattarian concepts of deterritorialization, nomadology and the war

machine. Agamben’s philosophical scaffolding questions the possibilities of biopolitics that extend to hegemony, but fundamentally functionsalways on binaries. Deleuzian philosophy on the other hand is emancipated from such binary pursuits and instead employs rhizomatic methods of analyses.

The present paper attempts to bring together the ideas of the two philosophers that merge or intersect with the areas of postcolonial studies into an status of distancing from pure alterity—transculturation. Transcultures are in-between structures or anti-structures that break down formative or normative ideologies. A combination of the two philosophers’ concepts produces an amalgam of the movement from the state of alterity to a state of transculturation. The movement or evolution has been illustrated here across its multiple stages using the illustrations of two works of fiction V.S. Naipaul’s The Mimic Men (1967)

and Mohsin Hamid’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2007)—two novels from different chronological periods but possessing similar ontopology to better render the distinction.

Keywords: Agamben, Deleuze, alterity, transculturation, postcolonial, Naipaul, Hamid

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