Table of Contents
1.Background of the paper
1.1.Objective of the Paper
1.1.1 The general Objective of the Paper
1.1.2 Specific Objectives of the Paper
3.Introducing Frantz Fanon’s Insights In relation to Social Psychology
4.The Essence of Social Cognitive Theory and Its Influence in Mind Colonialism
5.Synthesizing Fanon’s Contribution on Mind colonialism with Social Cognitive Theory
Social Cognitive Theory and Mind Colonialism: Critical Review on Frantz Fanon Writings1
1.Background of the paper
"Man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being"
Biko, I write what I like (1987/2005)2
Psychological theories are basically the reflection of the brain and mind interactions with human beings and the role of environment on the activation of individual behaviors and group influence. For such explanations there are many perspectives by which the foundation of of knowledge in the behavioral studies is hypostasized and developed into a full scale theory. Social cognitive theory is also a product of such methodological concerns in which the formation of its essence contributes to the fundamental characteristics of human cognition in relation to its relevance to bring about a behavioral change and human development in terms of the human tendency to interpret the psychological world and learned through different mechanisms.
Frantz Fanon was one of the most recognized black scholars in the 20th century. His prominent effect on the psychiatric, oppression psychology, colonialization and the need to use psycho - political tactics into the resistance /liberation movements of the colonized can be mentioned.
In his rigorous effort to study and publish a critical books and articles that concerns the human freedom and mind decolonization attracts scholars of the pre and post-colonial era and different multi-disciplinary discourses.
The fundamental point in his demonstrative of conceptualizing and renovating the power of consciousness to the act of freedom and human, concerns to the theorizing of mind, culture and their interrelation come across the change that ultimately brings about liberation and self-reliance.
By the influence of himself from previous models, he devoted his knowledge and intellectual capability to produce and even be an actor by doing and affirm his position in life as a milieu psychiatrist, member of the FLN (National Liberation Front of Algeria) and historical champion of the independence of this country with other colleagues. Unfortunately, he died in his 36 of Leukemia and his legacy is still with us after five decades of his writings and other works.
On the other hand, social cognitive theory is not a Spontaneous theoretical formation by just some unusual context. Rather, it was an extension of the previous social learning theory by the famous psychologist Albert Bandura.
In 1961 the experiment that marked the role of modeling in visualizing the act of the doll called ‘Bobo’ by children under investigation was a landmark for the effect of observation as a means of social learning and throughout different behavioral contexts. After that modeling and vicarious learning became familiar concepts to the psychological community and therapeutic sessions. At this stage, what is the need to reconnect some western theoretical insights with the passionate Black writer’s contribution is an important question in terms of contextual ground. That is the task of this paper and in its holistic approach it considers the determinisms of the agent in the environment and the pivotal role it of the cognition to process and organize different sorts of information into schematic whole.
The colonized mind is not a matter of political atrocities and historical black points at human beings. The very structure of humans as a subject to self-regulated entities, interpreting bio-social beings and the power of their surroundings to form and deconstruct the notion of self-identity is a particular complexity of existence and a point of this paper’s discussion.
Both individuals and societies share this principally an explanation of the psychological acquisition of stimulus vs response attachment and other classifications of learning process as a way to live by the rules of life in the long run.
The aim of referencing the famous Frantz Fanon’s writings in this arena has come to conceptualize about the developmental roots of mind colonization and its current state as the unconscious force of human activity especially in the realm of former colonized parts of the world extensively including Africa.
From the theoretical backups of the author’s historic exposure and intellectual contribution, we will focus on the social cognitive description of the formation and persistence of learning as an enduring life experience in a sense that will give as a concrete evidence for our case of mind colonization.
Thus, to easily understands what the thought of Frantz Fanon is relevant into the current postmodern world because it is fall back into his analysis to the emergence, formation and persistence of mind conditioning from previous colonial powers directly the then times and indirectly on the advent of globalization by the arms of imperial interests are a chain of factors that as different thinker’s put it ,perpetuating colonized the minds of the powerless to dehumanize its identity and approaching to Pseudo- civilized fashion.
1.1. Objective of the Paper
1.1.1 The general Objective of the Paper
Is to assess Frantz Fanon writings in relation to social cognitive theory principles.
1.1.2 Specific Objectives of the Paper
- To describe the social psychological elements of Frantz Fanon writings
- To explain the writings of Frantz Fanon on mind colonialism with the basic tenets of the social cognitive Theory
- To synthesize the contributions of Frantz Fanon on mind colonialism to that of social cognitive theory
This paper is prepared based on the assumptions of qualitative description. And secondary sources of the writer’s (published and unpublished) materials are used to substantiate the writer argument with sound justifications. Other than that different outlooks of the topic have put into a whole to comprehend and better understand what the topic is all about. With regard to the type of materials used both printing and electronics sources with books, journal articles and related materials were put to facilitate the information needed to construct the paper.
3. Introducing Frantz Fanon’s Insights In relation to Social Psychology
“What is the prognosis? … The prognosis is in the hands of those who are willing to get rid of the worm-eaten roots of the structure.’’3
Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks ( cited in, Alessandrini, 1999)
Social psychology in its very nature adopts different level of analysis to describe and explain psychological components and that is very critical to the analysis of certain behavioral phenomena. In that sense, it’s important to accept the scope of social psychology in the essential level of analysis. From the mandate of this discipline the adoption of interpersonal level of analysis is a major exemplary one. Within this regard, social psychologists focus on a person’s current social situation, that social situation include other people in the environment, their attitude, behavior, their relationship to the individual (Taylor, Pepelu & Sears, 2006).
In this case the works of Frantz Fanon highlight the pivotal role of psychology in the minds of the colonized people and is repercussion in the current postmodern world. That is the beauty of his thesis and the great influence it brings to the oppressed people’s consciousness and final liberation from colonial powers in the then period of western expansion to the third world especially Africa, South and Central America and Asia.
For Instance, Pierce (Cited in Bulhan, 1985) describes that the contributions of Frantz Fanon are the powerful explanations of oppression Psychology and related consequences. In the expression of Pierce, the works of Fanon are indeed present and analyzing the role of life events and experiences to shape and perpetuate oppression psychology as the major concern.
As Pirece (cited in Bulhan, 1985) clearly indicated the among the contributions of Fanon was the obligation placed on western scientists to consider their role in the creation, perpetuation and consequences of racism and colonialism (p .v)
In such circumstances the historical exposure of a trained psychiatrist helped him to be critical in his surroundings and the suffering of people to the realm of the western influence was captured the attention of this man and transformed in to the deepest analysis of mankind regarding the exploitation of mind and its impact in creating the ponding mental image that deliberately distorts the consciousness of the people and leads to continuous dependability of the the submission of environmental deficits with the sluggish self-concept and low productivity of the mental life due to scare of the unwavering implication of colonialism in its genesis.
For the explanation of mind colonialism and its social psychological dimension the art of Frantz Fanon was not a complex theoretical analysis in gigantic process. Rather, he was just using his curiosity and professional exercise as a means to capture the psychological activations of the people facing difficulties in the existence of colonialism at his direct observation and the latent function it brought to the peoples mind which still is the problem of the contemporary world people.
As a simple illustrative example from the writings of Fanon regarding the colonized mind of the then Algeria inhabitants see the following conversation with one of his patients in Blida hospital:
"What's wrong; my friend?'
"I'm dying, monsieur le docteur."
His voice breaks imperceptibly.
"Where do you have pain?"
"Everywhere, monsieur le docteur " (Fanon 1952/1967 p. 4).
The above conversation is extracted by the writer of the paper to show how the psychological predispositions of peoples get collapsed during colonial times and the insight was directly taken from the observations of his psychiatric and from those intensive therapy sessions he fall into the reverse effects of the colonized system to the the public, the nation, the continent and in the long run to the unbalance of the state of the global world.
In an analytical sense he was probably discovered the central social psychological point out of his rigorous efforts; he discussed with his patent and reach a certain point that he obviously understood the fact that the pain of his patients was not a matter of physiological discomforts but rather could and would directly related to the psychological repressive state of the patients minds.
In Fanon’s (1952/1967) in his article called “towards the colonized Mind” from his Book called “Towards the African revolution”4 assertion to the symptoms of his patent from the above conversation, he puts that:
You must not ask for specific symptoms: you would not be given any. For example, in pains of ulcerous character, it is important to know their periodicity. This conformity to the categories of time is something to which the North African seems to be hostile. It is not lack of comprehension, for he often comes accompanied by an interpreter. It is as though it is an effort for him to go back to where he no longer is. The past for him is a burning past. What he hopes is that he will never suffer again, never again be face to face with that past. This present pain, which visibly mobilizes the muscles of his face, suffices him. He does not understand that anyone should wish to impose on him, even by way of memory, the pain that is already gone. He does not understand why the doctor asks him so many questions. (p. 4)
That is Just an observation by the writer of the paper to show how Frantz Fanon stretched is psychological understand in relation to his practices with the social psychological exploration of a person’s interaction with the wider world regarding the perception, attitude and behavioral components of his Patents and come to a framework of mind colonialism and its roots of conditioning.
Pointing at how people are just the product of their maladjusted world view which is directly taken from the environmental stimuli, Fanon continually wrote his assumptions in specially what he was called at that time, the Algerian syndrome and later expanded to the mind colonization and its victims. According to Fanon after his clinical follow-ups his patients with the colonialized minds have two important possibilities (Fanon, 1952/1967 p. 5):
1. The patient is not immediately relieved, and he comes back after three or four days. This sets us against him, because we know that it takes time for the prescribed medicine to have an effect on the lesion. He is made to understand this, or more precisely, he is told. But our patient has not heard what we said. He is his pain and he refuses to understand any language, and it is not far from this to the conclusion: It is because I am Arab that they don't treat me like the others.
2. The patient is not immediately relieved, but he does not go back to the same doctor, nor to the same dispensary. He goes elsewhere. He proceeds on the assumption that in order to get the satisfaction he has to knock on every door, and he knocks. He knocks persistently. Gently. Naively, Furiously.
After the Inclination of the then outlooks of Fanon, the patient’s state somatic situation is not the only casual reflections on the individual’s life. Rather the system of the environment inevitably leads to the both the emergence and occurrence of what is todays called Psychosomatic disorders. So he cited his colleague, called Dr. Stern article on psychosomatic medicine based on the work of Heinrich Meng, to substantiate his argument on the state of mind, especially when there is functional compliments in the side of individuals and continue to argue with puts the above writer’s assertions:
"One must not only find out which organ is attacked, what is the nature of the organic lesions, if they exist, and what microbe has invaded the organism; it is not enough to know the 'somatic constitution' of the patient. One must try to find out what Meng calls his 'situation,' that is to say, his relations with his associates, his occupations and his preoccupations, his sexuality, his sense of security or of insecurity, the dangers that threaten him; and we may add also his evolution) the story of his life. One must make a 'situational diagnosis. (Fanon, 1952/1967 p. 10)
The contribution of Fanon for his holistic outlook that considers the influence of Environment (behavioral Agent) to cognitive process is indeed magnificent. It is also good to know that he was very peculiar in his courage to practice and intervene the insinuation of the individual in relation to their contexts and the possible theoretical framework he sought to develop on the basis of the mind of the oppressed with a predictive power of mind colonialism and mind rationality.
1 Frantz Omar Fanon was a St. Martinu islands born and A French citizen; born on 20 July 1925 in Fort-de-France, in the French colony of Martinique, and was Devoted his intellectual and political life to champion anti colonization movements in south and central America and Africa with oppressed people. In his Professional life He was a notable Psychiatrist during the age of the French colony in different parts of the world and he especially revisited the state of mind colonialism on his stay in Algeria for serving the French government there. After his indispensable contribution to the new dimension of Milieu psychiatry (e.g Fanon 1952/67) he was committed himself to fought for the Algerian Independence and excommunicated from the then French administration in that country. And finally, after serving as Algerian Ambassador to Ghana, he died of Leukemia, in Washington on, 6 December 1961 at the age of 36, after his immense contribution to oppression psychology/psychiatry, political activism, Humanitarian deeds and philosophy of existence in general.
2 Steve Biko was a South African Anti-apartheid struggler, who scarified himself in his youth Years to the liberation of his people and finally died of inhumane detention and exploitation of the then police officials of the South African Government, in 1977. He was best known for the movement called “Black consciousness “and largely influenced by the works of Frantz Fanon.
3 This connotation of Fanon clearly shows the effect of colonialism to the postmodern world independent countries struggle for structural stability and peaceful co-existence; because of the pervasive devastation it brings and the ignorance that was reflected by the colonialized and other underdeveloped Nations/Peoples. What the result was/has been destruction and inequality among the peoples even after the advent of independence and political leadership by themselves. He, so that recommended a grassroots’ change to reverse the effect of mind colonialism.
4 Fanon have different articles and printed Books by his own name; from these the best known and repetitively cited books are: Black skin White Mask (1952 originally); the wretched Earth ;( 1961 originally), Towards the African revolution his collection of articles, (1964 originally); A Dying Colonialism (1959 originally); Are the most recognized sources of his intellectual contributions.