An Essay on Self-Enslavement: The Pathology of Power and Control
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This article discusses certain parallels between Du Bois’ notion of double consciousness, Fanon’s discussion of the neurotic inter-relationship between the colonial master and the native, and Marcuse’s concept of one-dimensionality in order to draw an analogy between enslavement and the status of citizen in advanced Western-style societies today. The aim is to explore the exercise of power within these societies and cast light upon the manner in which the discourse of freedom both constitutes and masks submission to power. The argument is made that submission has come to be regarded as the fulfillment of human potential insofar as we have learned to look at ourselves through the eyes of those who exercise power over us, having lost the ability to imagine that the situation in which we live could, and should, be different than it is. The conception of symbolic interaction as it is now typically employed is drawn into question for the difficulties it faces in addressing unbalanced interaction in the power-submission relationship. The concept of nouveau colonialism is developed in order to capture how the relations that once obtained between a metropole and its overseas colonial possessions have in a sense been replicated between those who exercise power and those subject to power within one and the same community.