A Study on Post-colonial Nationalist Thought of Partha Chatterjee
|Course||Literature and Art|
|Keywords||Partha Chatterjee post-colonial nationalism nation identity|
In traditional western theories, nationalism is considered as a project that hasbeen determined in its cultural essence. In other words, they attribute the reason whythe eastern nationalism is so different from the western one and why the two leaddifferent developments after the establishment of national states to those culturalessences. As a brilliant post-colonial theorist, Partha Chatterjee strongly criticizesthis kind of view. He looks into the history of the Third World nationalism, by usingthe theory of post-structuralism, and finally comes up with the point that there is notessential crack between eastern and western culture, the history of the Third Worldnationalism results from its interaction with colonial rationality.Inspired by Fanon, in order to clarify the relationship between nationalism andcolonial rationality, Chatterjee divides the development of nationalism into threeperiods. It points out that as the discourse of decolonization and establishing nationalstates, nationalism does not necessary to obey the western modes, but has gainedcertain subjectivity and has created a way with nation characteristics. Meanwhile, thenationalist elites may repeat the way of colonialism in the process of decolonization,thus results to the inner colonization. With the uncertain identity, they walk betweenthe elite politics and the subaltern politics. From the aspects of religious sects, gender,class and caste, Chatterjee explores the inner colonization, leaving us more rethinkingspace on nationalism. What’s more, he thinks in the process of establishing nationalstates, the strategy of “material and spiritual” dichotomy is full of contradictions,some of them even exist in the post-colonial time. As a resolution, he comes up withthe concept of “Political Society”.Chatterjee’s post-colonial thought of nationalism is filled with the subalternqualities, which puts nationalism theory into a new era. It is worthy for most ThirdWorld countries. However, it also has limits, so we had better to stand on the concretenational condition before using it.