Thursday, 11 October 2012

Are Those-Who-Do-Not-Count Capable of Reason? Thinking Political Subjectivity in the (Neo-)Colonial World and the Limits of History

By Michael Neocosmos, 2012

This article is concerned to show that the historical science of the (neo-)colonial world is unable to allow
for an analysis of the political subjectivities of ‘those-who-do-not-count’ or ‘subalterns’ as rational beings.
Rather, it can only think such subjectivities as the products of people who are merely bearers of their social
location, not thinking subjects. As a result, such history can only be a history of place, not a history of the
transcending of place; it therefore amounts to colonial or state history. Historical objectivity invariably
produces state history. The thought of the possibility of emancipatory politics, which always exceeds place,
is thus precluded. This is an unavoidable epistemic problem in history and the social sciences in their current
form. Following the work of Lazarus, I argue for an alternative historical methodology in Africa in terms of
an internal analysis of the idioms of politics as discontinuous subjective sequences.
Click here to download this paper in pdf.