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Derek Hook, "A Critical Psychology of the Postcolonial. The Mind of Apartheid", Routledge, November 2011




An oft-neglected element of postcolonial thought is the explicitly psychological dimension of many of its foundational texts. This unprecedented volume explores the relation between these two disciplines by treating the work of a variety of anti-colonial authors as serious psychological contributions to the theorization of racism and oppression.

This approach demonstrates the pertinence of postcolonial thought for critical social psychology and opens up novel perspectives on a variety of key topics in social psychology. These include:
  • The psychology of embodiment and racialization
  • Resistance strategies to oppression
  • 'Extra-discursive’ facets of racism
  • The unconscious dimension of stereotypes
  • The intersection of psychological and symbolic modalities of power

In addition, the book makes a distinctive contribution to the field of postcolonial studies by virtue of its eclectic combination of authors drawn from anti-apartheid, psychoanalytic and critical social theory traditions, including Homi Bhabha, Steve Biko, J.M. Coetzee, Frantz Fanon, Julia Kristeva, Chabani Manganyi and Slavoj Zizek. The South African focus serves to emphasize the ongoing historical importance of the anti-apartheid struggle for today’s globalized world.

A Critical Psychology of the Postcolonial is an invaluable text for social psychology and sociology students enrolled in courses on racism or cultural studies. It will also appeal to postgraduates, academics and anyone interested in psychoanalysis in relation to societal and political issues.


Table of Contents

Introduction. Why a Critical Psychology of the Postcolonial? 1. The Postcolonial, the Psychopolitical, Black Consciousness and Vernacular Psychology 2. Abjection as a Political Factor: Racism and the ‘Extra-Discursive’ 3. Postcolonial Psychoanalysis: Fanon, Desire, Fantasy and Libidinal economy 4. The Stereotype, Colonial Discourse, Fetishism, Racism 5. The ‘Real’ of Racializing Embodiment 6. Retrieving Biko: A Black Consciousness Critique of Post-Apartheid Whiteness


Author/Editor Biography

Derek Hook is a lecturer in Psychosocial Studies at Birkbeck College London, and a visiting associate professor in Psychology at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. He is a lead researcher in the Apartheid Archive Project, and a trainee psychoanalyst at the Centre for Freudian Analysis and Research in London.

Photo: The Problem We All Live With by Norman Rockwell

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