Feminism, the Public and the Private

By Joan B. Landes | Go to book overview

18
Wounded Attachments: Late Modern Oppositional Political Formations

Wendy Brown

If something is to stay in the memory, it must be burned in: only that which never ceases to hurt stays in the memory.

Friedrich Nietzsche

Taking enormous pleasure in the paradox, Jamaican-born cultural studies theorist Stuart Hall tells this story of the postwar, postcolonial 'breakup' of English identity:

in the very moment when finally Britain convinced itself it had to decolonize, it had to get rid of them, we all came back home. As they hauled down the flag [in the colonies], we got on the banana boat and sailed right into London. . . . [T]hey had ruled the world for 300 years and, at last, when they had made up their minds to climb out of the role, at least the others ought to have stayed out there in the rim, behaved themselves, gone somewhere else, or found some other client state. But no, they had always said that this [ London] was really home, the streets were paved with gold, and bloody hell, we just came to check out whether that was so or not.1

In Hall's mischievous account, the restructuring of collective 'First World' identity and democratic practices required by postcoloniality did not remain in the hinterlands but literally, restively, came home to roost. The historical 'others' of colonial identity, cast free in their own waters, sailed in to implode the centre of the postcolonial metropoles, came to trouble the last vestiges of centred European identity with its economic and political predicates. They came to make havoc in the master's house after the master relinquished his military-political but not his cultural and metaphysical holding as the metonymy of man.

____________________
First published in Political Theory, 21/ 3 ( 1993). Copyright & Sage Publications, Inc. Reprinted by permission of Sage Publications Inc.

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