n New Voices in Psychology - The pathological constitution of colonized subjectivity in Armah’s The beautyful ones are not yet born : Kohut and Fanon in dialogue

Volume 12 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1812-6731



The following theoretical review attempts to provide a distinctly psychoanalytic reading of Armah’s The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born (1968). Integrating a Fanonian conception of intersubjective recognition with Kohut’s work on narcissism and self-object relations, it is argued that the enduring nature of psychopathology in colonized peoples is readily sustained by denigrating ties to hegemonic colonial selfobjects- the symbolic “gleam” identified so lucidly by Armah in his novel. It is suggested that positing the existence of selfobjects which are actively harmful, instead of necessarily compensatory and/or curative, enhances the dialectical strength of Kohutian self-psychology in previously colonized nations. Such an extension also places self-psychology in explicit dialogue with Fanon’s sociogenic diagnosis of psychopathology; providing one potential interpretative lens through which to explore what processes of decolonization might intimate regarding the psychic reality of the colonizer/ colonized dyad.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error