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The Manifeste des Quarante-Quatre, Francophonie, la franafrique and Africa: from the politics of culture to the culture of politics

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The signatories of the manifesto calling for a new relationship between French and Francophone literatures have also criticized Francophonie as a form of colonialism. But for two reasons it is unlikely that their view, on top of criticism from many other sources, will have any impact on Francophonie today. By drawing on Wilder's theory that France and its former colonies should be analyzed as a single unit, and by reframing Francophonie in all its forms in both longer and wider contexts, obstacles to elimnating Francophonie will become apparent. The first barrier is the momentum of French. It diffused as a language of colonization from the Middle Ages in France to Africa since the seventeenth century, a phenomenon described as the politics of culture. The second is the force of French politics from the hard policy of military intervention since 1960 to the soft approach of growing involvement in Francophonie, a period characterized by the culture of politics. Francophonie and la Franafrique are the threads that bind these two powerful political currents, historic and contemporary. Together, they constitute an obstacle unlikely to be swept away by critics of Francophonie.
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Keywords: culture of politics; franafrique; francophonie; language; manifesto; politics of culture; postcolonial

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Pennsylvania State University.

Publication date: December 1, 2009

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  • The International Journal of Francophone Studies offers a critical preview for a new development in the understanding of 'France outside France', with a thorough insight into the network of disciplinary issues affiliated with this study. The journal complements the thriving area of scholarly interest in the French-speaking regions of the world, bringing a location of linguistic, cultural, historical and social dynamics within a single academic arena.
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