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Rumina Sethi

Postcolonialism, Nationalism and Globalization: The Politics of Disjuncture and Difference

Rumina Sethi
Department of English, Panjab University, India

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     Last modified: September 24, 2006

This paper is about third-world cultural politics focusing particularly on an understanding of different histories located at a period of vast global restructuring when the market forces released by uninhibited trade have made nations/nationality obsolete and residual. Within this complicated space-place dialectic, I will examine the variegated terrain of anti-capitalist struggles and political upsurges in the Afro-Asian world, particularly India, emphasizing postcolonial protest and resistance while evolving global socialist politics.
Undoubtedly, national identity is losing out to an increasingly globalized world by becoming complicit with it, an issue that is increasingly relevant in the new millennia because of growing US involvement. Scholars of postcolonial literature rely extensively on its value as a discipline that was meant as a counter to colonial and neo-colonial discourses of power. Ever since the United States has rapidly hegemonized developing countries through globalization, postcolonial theories, like the liberatory potential of the nation state, are being rendered more and more ineffective. The question I raise is: whatever happened to Postcolonial studies that promised deliverance from colonialism? Postcolonial Studies has always engaged with the critique of processes of globalization. But lately, globalization has become so rampant in postcolonial societies that its chief motivation—that of liberating colonized societies and proclaiming their nationhood—is lost in the wave of global give and take and the opening of national boundaries. What Homi Bhabha describes as the ‘separation from origins and essences’ is simply the isolation from the local, the national and the indigenous.
My paper will examine the contemporary worth of postcolonial literature in third world cultural politics. By its very dismissal of anti-foundationalism, postcolonialism loses track of the world of real events such as those real national struggles and local identities that it is worth every nation to preserve. Outside the generalized pronouncements of hybridisation by the academy, the world continues to struggle in specific and local contexts, but in terms of the academy, national identity and native locations are well nigh lost.

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