Revolutionary theories from Marx onward have often struggled to unite the psychological commitments of individuals— understood as ideological— with the larger ethical or political goals of a social movement. As a psychiatrist, social theorist, and revolutionary, Frantz Fanon attempted to connect the ideological and the political. Fanon’s work gives both a psychological explanation of the origins of ideology and seeks to restore the individual to autonomy and political agency.
This book explores the deeper philosophical foundations of Fanon’s project in order to understand the depths of Fanon’s contribution to the theory of the subject and to social theory. It also demonstrates how Fanon’s model makes it possible to understand the political dimensions of Freudian psychoanalysis and the psychological dimensions of Hegel’s social theory. This is the first book to bring these two central dimensions of Fanon’s thought into dialogue. It uses Fanon’s position to provide a deeper interpretation of key texts in Freud and Hegel and by uniting these three thinkers contributes to the creolization of all three thinkers.
Dedication / Acknowledgements / Abbreviations / Introduction / 1. Kant, Hegel, Freud and the Structure of the Subject / 2. Trauma and Dialectics / 3.Fanon’s Psychopathology of Race and Colonialism / 4. The Rebirth of the Revolutionary Subject / 5. Hegel, Freud and Fanon’s Theories of History / Conclusion: The Ideal of Recognition, Political and Libidinal / Bibliography / Index
This is an exciting, and perhaps for some controversial, book. With a nuanced sensibility to the originality of Fanon’s thought, Bird-Pollan challenges us to rethink the importance of Freud’s metapsychology (especially the Oedipus complex) and Hegel’s dialectic of recognition on Fanon’s thinking about emancipation.
Bird-Pollan offers an agile analysis of the relationship between negativity and self-integration in Hegel, Freud, and Fanon, challenging the by now standard idea that fragmentation is intrinsic to human subjectivity, and making a strong case for a socio-political understanding of traumatization.
Stefan Bird-Pollan is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the University of Kentucky. He has published articles in numerous journals, including Radical Philosophy, Critical Horizons, Philosophy and Social Criticism and Public Reason.