Fanon considered that colonial alienation produced multiple forms of relational pathologies, many of which expressed themselves in and through blockages in communication rather than through explicit conflict. Exposing the role of language as a vector of racial violence and colonial oppression, Fanon also presented it as a potentially revolutionary medium of decolonization. The article has two aims: firstly, to give an account of Fanon’s ongoing concern with language, in part by underscoring three very different influences in Fanon’s expansive conception of its role: Aimé Césaire, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and François Tosquelles. Secondly, to rearticulate the function of language in Fanon’s theory of colonial disalienation by drawing on a specific trajectory in his clinico-political thought: from diagnoses of untranslatability or incommunicability to analyses of decolonization as the radical transformation of the subject’s experience of language.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0).