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Urban Poverty and Homelessness in the International Postcolonial World

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Abstract

In her 2012 Edward Said memorial lecture, Benita Parry criticized recent postcolonial studies for a lack of engagement with the material conditions of the colonized. In the popular vocabulary of negotiation and ambivalence, the close link between colonialism and capitalism is lost, as are the multiple forms of ongoing resistance to oppression to which Said himself was always attentive.1 In his similar critique, The Postcolonial Unconscious (2011), Neil Lazarus laments the discipline’s ‘lack of accountability to the world-system that constitutes [its] putative object’ (1). In particular, he critiques postcolonial theory’s studious avoidance of hard issues of immiseration and subjugation that are, nonetheless, evident in the fiction: ‘the “world” has to date typically been more adequately registered, and rendered, in “postcolonial” literature than in postcolonial criticism’ (italics in original; 36). Citing dozens of literary texts, Lazarus reminds readers of the ongoing relevance of the urgency, passion and anger that first defined the postcolonial scene, exemplary in Frantz Fanon’s writing. As David Macey puts it in his biography of Fanon:

Fanon was angry. His readers should still be angry too. Angry that Algerian immigrants could be treated with such contempt … Angry at the cultural alienation that still afflicts the children of Martinique … Angry at what has happened in Algeria. Angry that the wretched of the earth are still with us. Anger does not in itself produce political programmes for change, but it is perhaps the most basic political emotion. Without it, there is no hope. (Macey qtd. in Lazarus 178)

Keywords

Informal Settlement Urban Poor Urban Poverty Slum Dweller Materialist Critique 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Melissa Kennedy 2015

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