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New Developments in Postcolonial Studies

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Edited By Malgorzata Martynuska and Elzbieta Rokosz-Piejko

This book analyses the applicability of postcolonial theories and contemporary issues, and also revisits previously tackled cultural, social and literary phenomena. The contributions examine contemporary social, economic and cultural processes. The authors look back at older cultural texts, coming from either former colonies or former colonisers. They furthermore refer to the fact that theories of postcolonialism are currently more frequently applied to study countries originally not classified as colonial. They attempt to define and explain the experiences of the native peoples of colonial territories in various historical situations of dependence.

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Square Pegs into Round Holes: The Contemporary (Mis)Use of Postcolonial Theory in Poland and an Alternative (Gregory Allen)

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Gregory Allen

Square Pegs into Round Holes: The Contemporary (Mis)Use of Postcolonial Theory in Poland and an Alternative

Abstract: With the spread of postcolonial theory beyond its geographic origins, this paper explores the contemporary use of the theory as a framework for Western interactions with Central and Eastern Europe. It is argued that while it provides a valid critical perspective, postcolonial theory is being stretched beyond its limits and a new approach is needed.

Key words: colonialism, imperialism, neoliberal hegemony, post-socialist transition, socio-economic transformation.

Introduction

Marlow, the narrator in Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (also known as Polish novelist Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski), begins the tale of the novel’s anti-hero Kurtz whilst sat aboard the Nellie anchored in the Thames awaiting the turn of the tide. “And this also”, states Marlow, reflecting on the Roman occupation nineteen hundred years earlier, “has been one of the dark places on earth”. Before going on to contrast the occupation of Britain with his experiences of the Belgian colonisation of the Congo, he says of the Romans “They were no colonists; their administration was merely a squeeze, and nothing more, I suspect. They were conquerors, and for that you want only brute force – nothing to boast of, when you have it, since your strength is just an accident arising from the weakness of others” (Conrad 1995).

Empire, colony and occupation have impacted, to varying degrees,...

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