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It has become indispensable to refer to the work of Franz Fanon when analysing both the colonial making of bodies and, in turn, those material and discursive operations that combine together the racialisation, sexualisation, and pathologisation of such colonised bodies. This entails, too, reflecting upon an issue which Fanon placed at the heart of the militant praxis: that is, the transformation of the forms of corporeality central to the position of a decolonial subject. This article reexamines this topic in the light of a Fanonian text, which introduces an additional element that complicates the dialectical approach which generally governs, both in Fanon’s work and in that of his critics, the narrative function that is accorded to the body in analysing the processes of liberation.
In This is the Voice of Algeria (1959), Fanon draws attention to the fact that colonised bodies are more than just racialised bodies subjected to extreme colonial violence and then projected as a paroxysmal location where the reversal of a counter-violence against oppression occurs. They are also speaking bodies, and Fanon attempts to describe how they claim ownership of what Jacques Lacan called their parlêtre dimension. We need them to describe their specific materiality of such a dimension and the constraints of the circumstances which allow (or act as obstacles to) the incorporation of the voice in a subject of political enunciation. I will draw on Franz Fanon’s studies of how the radio was used in the Algerian liberation struggle, in which, as a part of undertaking his analysis, Fanon was forced to address the “metapolitical” issue of the incorporation of the object voice in the problematic emergence of a political subjectivation in which instinctual and technical dimensions are inextricably linked.