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Dr Fanon on colonial narcissism and anti-colonial melancholia

Wright, Colin


Colin Wright


Barry Sheils

Julie Walsh


This chapter provides an outline of Fanon’s involvement in the most progressive strand of French psychiatry that became known as ‘psychothérapie institutionnelle’, as well as of his clinical response to the colonial context at the Bilda-Joinville hospital in Algeria, in order to demonstrate the strong continuities between his psychiatric practice on the one hand, and his critical writings and political activism on the other. This brief portrait of ‘Dr Fanon’ paves the way for a discussion of the impact of the Freudian concepts of narcissism and melancholia on his two best known works, Black Skin, White Masks and The Wretched of the Earth. I argue that through his critical (re)deployments of narcissism and melancholia, Dr Fanon controversially comes to prescribe revolutionary violence and the creation of a new militant national community as a means of ‘treatment’ for subjective yet always also social ailments.

Book Type Book Chapter
Publication Date Oct 31, 2017
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 185-210
Series Title Studies in the psychosocial
Book Title Narcissm, melancholia and the subject of community
ISBN 9783319638287
APA6 Citation Wright, C. (2017). Dr Fanon on colonial narcissism and anti-colonial melancholia. In B. Sheils, & J. Walsh (Eds.), Narcissm, melancholia and the subject of community, 185-210. London: Palgrave Macmillan. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-63829-4_8
Keywords Frantz Fanon, Jacques Lacan, Narcissism, Melancholia
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address: http://eprints.nottingh.../end_user_agreement.pdf
Additional Information Reproduced with permission of Palgrave Macmillan. This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive, published, version of record is available here: