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Raphaël Gallien, “Delirious Words and Social Ambition in French Colonial Madagascar”: From Madagascar, this chapter examines what the madman can tell us about the colonial situation and its social and political horizons on a daily basis. To do so, this text relies on the itineraries of four Indigenous people, one woman and three men, all interned during the 1920s. Far from considering them as a simple succession of cases, the purpose of this chapter is to identify the common thread that runs through these trajectories: all of them collapse at the moment when the long-awaited social promotion proves unattainable. Their “reason” or, more exactly, “the abandonment of their reason,” seems to be a response to a social and racial immobility imposed by the colonial situation that obstructs any future for indigenous subjects. The madness is then the expression of a desire to belong, to be symbolically capable of competing, be it with the status of the colonizer.

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