Martinique is (not) a Polynesian island: detours of French West Indian identity
Abstract:Sixty years after departmentalization Martinique is faced with the consequences of French-mandated modernization. In the face of such assimilationist pressures the tendency among cultural activists like the members of the Crolit movement is to invest in the ideal of a Martiniquan specificity. As opposed to an imaginary that privileges the redemptive heartland and salvaged folklore, Edouard Glissant points to an alternative way of constructing identity that is relational and not rooted. Through his references to Easter Island he has taken the exotic elsewhere of the Surrealists, Oceania, and imagined an exemplary space of errancy which opens Martinique out to a global relational identity beyond its tensions with metropolitan France. Utopian in its thrust, his imaginary focuses on what is missing in the current anti-assimilationist posturing and rethinks the idea of the totemic sacred in terms of a relational sacred.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: New York University.
Publication date: June 16, 2008
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