Critical Philosophy of Race 4 (1):56 (2016)

Homi Bhabha brings attention to the figure of the post-colonial metropolitan subject—a third world subject who resides in the first world. Bhabha describes the experiences of the “colonial” subject as ambivalently split. As much as I find his work insightful, I find problematic Bhabha’s descriptions of the daily life of post-colonial metropolitan subjects as split and doubled. His analysis lends only to the possibility of these splittings/doublings as schizophrenically wholly arising. His analysis cannot account for the agonistic moments when the colonial subject is caught in not knowing, and in developing understanding about present circumstances. A framework with an account of context and horizons, such as in phenomenology can better depict the experiences of the post-colonial metropolitan subject. Maurice Merleau-Ponty follows a gestaltian contact with the world, which advances that the “most basic unit of experience is that of figure-on-a-background.” One perceives the figure/theme because of and within the background/horizon. In this horizonal framework, human experiences are ambiguously open. The openness in the horizon of the gestaltian framework better accounts for the conditions Bhabha refers to as splitting. The ambivalence can be understood not simply as conundrums that defy understanding but as ambiguous moments for expanding, developing, and growing.
Keywords Homi Bhabha  Ambivalence  Ambiguity  Asian American Women
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5325/critphilrace.4.1.0056
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Upload history
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Fanonian Ambivalence: On Psychoanalysis and Postcolonial Critique.Derek Hook & Ross Truscott - 2013 - Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 33 (3):155.
Agency Without Autonomy: Valuational Agency.Ranjoo Seodu Herr - 2010 - Journal of Global Ethics 6 (3):239-254.
A Phenomenological Investigation of the Experience of Ambivalence.Steve Harrist - 2006 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 37 (1):85-114.
Ambiguity in Architecture.Christoph Baumberger - 2009 - In G. Ernst, O. Scholz & J. Steinbrenner (eds.), Nelson Goodman: From Logic to Art. Ontos. pp. 293--319.
Ambivalence.J. S. Swindell Blumenthal-Barby - 2010 - Philosophical Explorations 13 (1):23 – 34.


Added to PP index

Total views
163 ( #53,267 of 2,331,151 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
18 ( #33,791 of 2,331,151 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes