chapter
THEORETICAL ISSUES
Pages 6

In the decade since The Empire Writes Back was first published, a number of theoretical issues have risen to prominence, while a number have remained as contentious as they were then. One persistent issue has been the question of resistance. In the late eighties the debate between colonial discourse theory and Fanonesque formulations of resistance such as Benita Parry’s (1987) indicated a polarity of views about the political validity of post-colonial theory. At one level this was an argument about the rarefied poststructuralist approach of the colonial discourse theorists. This should remind us that questions of resistance remain relevant in the broader debate about the relationship between the Western Academy and post-colonial peoples. Has post-colonial theory, for instance, served to re-colonize the post-colonial world by re-incorporating its agendas into metropolitan academic concerns, as some critics have argued? Is some post-colonial theory too rarefied for its subjects; better suited to serving the needs of the Academy than to decolonizing actual societies? This leads to the question: who reads the ‘postcolonial’ texts? Is there a gap between local product and international practices of consuming that product? Again, the answer here may be that the validity of the post-colonial lies in its efficacy. Whatever its function as an academic discourse, we need to ask how well it has served to empower post-colonial intellectuals and assisted in implementing strategies of decolonization.