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Brocker I 924
Nihilism/Postcolonialism/Mbembe/Herb: According to a disappointed critic (Hiddleston 2009(1)), [Mbembe] (...) does not show a way to liberate dehumanized Africa. In the young history of ideas of postcolonialism, his work must therefore be counted among the anxious, ambivalent and worried designs. In the end, Mbembe was content with a mere ethical critique of the violence of representation (Hiddleston 2009, 176).
Brocker I 925
Africa's future scenario is correspondingly gloomy. In and between the lines there is desperation. "How then to live when the time to die has passed and when it is even forbidden to be alive [...]" (Mbembe 2016(2), 288).
Herb: So do we have to interpret Mbembe's relentless lament and bitter mockery as a statement of unacknowledged nihilism?
MbembeVs: In a self-critical foreword to the new edition of Postkolonie (2005), Mbembe emphatically contradicts this imposition (Mbembe 2016(2), 7-38). He sees the accusation of postmodern, even cynical nihilism as a blatant misinterpretation of his work (ibid., 27). Mbembe puts things in order within the framework of a polemical self-positioning. To this end, he relentlessly reckons with the French tradition, well aware of the enormous influence of French postmodernism on postcolonial and subaltern studies. For politically, Mbembe still sees a "racist ethno-nationalism" (ibid., 11) prevailing in France, disguised under the cloak of the republican dogma of universal equality.


1. Hiddleston, Jane, Understanding Postcolonialism, Stocksfield 2009.
2. Achille Mbembe, De la postcolonie. Essai sur l’imagination politique dans l’Afrique contemporaine, Paris 2000. Dt.: Achille Mbembe, Postkolonie. Zur politischen Vorstellungskraft im Afrika der Gegenwart, Wien/Berlin 2016


Karlfriedrich Herb, „Achille Mbembe, Postkolonie (2000)“. In: Manfred Brocker (Hg.) Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert. Frankfurt/M. 2018


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.
The note [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.
Mbembe, Achille
Brocker I
Manfred Brocker
Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Das 20. Jahrhundert Frankfurt/M. 2018


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