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Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies$
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Raphael Dalleo

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781781382967

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781382967.001.0001

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Irony in the Dungeon: Anamnesis and Emancipation

Irony in the Dungeon: Anamnesis and Emancipation

(p.191) Chapter Nine Irony in the Dungeon: Anamnesis and Emancipation
Bourdieu and Postcolonial Studies

Graham Huggan

Liverpool University Press

This chapter brings Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology to bear on Martinican writer Patrick Chamoiseau’s novel Un dimanche au cachot. One facet of Bourdieu’s thought that makes his work particularly productive and engaging for postcolonial studies is its focus on anamnesis, the critical work of recalling the repressed, historical dimension of a symbolic order taken for granted as natural.  What sets Bourdieu’s thinking apart from other theorizations of alienation and demystification is chiefly the importance it accords to embodiment, and to practice as a logic inseparable from the material space of social relations that habitus navigates. Bourdieu’s analysis of literature—and its capacity to do the work of anamnesis through irony—provides tools for a postcolonial literary criticism concerned that the field has misplaced its faith by focusing its energies on a form of self-reflexive literariness increasingly viewed less as critically subversive and more often as circular and self-enclosed.

Keywords:   Patrick Chamoiseau, Anamnesis, Irony, postcolonial literature, self-reflexivity, habitus, embodiment

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