The Colonizer and the Colonized

The Colonizer and the Colonized First published in English in this timeless classic explores the psychological effects of colonialism on colonized and colonizers alike

  • Title: The Colonizer and the Colonized
  • Author: Albert Memmi Jean-Paul Sartre Susan Gilson Miller
  • ISBN: 9780807003015
  • Page: 395
  • Format: Paperback
  • First published in English in 1965, this timeless classic explores the psychological effects of colonialism on colonized and colonizers alike.

    One thought on “The Colonizer and the Colonized”

    1. The title of this book suggests something dated, describing both a situation and a mindset that has either ceased to exist or become discredited with time. As such, I hesitated to pick it up initially. But now having read it, I have to say its one of the profound books I've read in recent memory. In timeless detail Memmi describes not just the psychologies of the oppressed and the oppressor, but also the predicament of the "leftist" in the oppressing group who at once is attracted to and recoils [...]

    2. This is one of those rare books that I found myself putting down the highlighter because it was pointless to highlight multiple pages at a time. Almost every second page has a fold to bookmark it, and some pages were folded at the top and bottom corners to bookmark the bookmarks! Although he wrote it in 1957, Albert Memmi didn't realize that at the time he was writing about an age-old relationship between the powerful and the powerless. Although I had many thoughts pass in my mind as I went thro [...]

    3. This is a classic book up there with The Wretched of the Earth by Franz Fanon about colonialism told by a doctor in French-Colonised Algeria during the civil war. It is brutal and honest and should be more widely known than it is. It is not for the weak-stomached as there is description of torture and genocidal tactics used by the French in their failed attempt to crush the uprising against their occupation. The two portraits - first of the French colonist and second of the colonised Algerian - [...]

    4. Memmi is a contemporary of Frantz Fanon and similarly explores the psychological and social consequences of the colonial relationship on both the colonizer and the colonized.I think the second part of the first chapter, "The colonizer who refuses," would make good reading for financially comfortable folks in the U.S. today (especially whites who consider themselves moderate or liberal types, but don't yet perceive the need for their own involvement in dealing with issues of class or race).

    5. Two chapters: one from the point of view of the colonizer, the other from the colonized. Totally compelling and beautifully written.It demonstrates the human capacity to regard the life of the slave AND the life of the master. (Consider my favorite line from the film Bladerunner: "If only you had seen what I have seen with your eyes.") Memmi sees with all eyes and spares us no acid in our wounds. And yet precisely because he is so even tempered, so evenhanded, the small judgments he does make ar [...]

    6. Memmi's clear thinking on the differences between a colonizer and colonized includes his observations on motives, rewards and behaviours and impacts. It must have made quite an impact in it's day. His arguments seem relevant to any country which is oppressed as well as to many of the current day ex-pats who reside live in developing countries.

    7. This is my favourite bit "The liquidation of colonization is nothing but a prelude to complete liberation, to self-recovery. Inorder to free himself from colonization, the colonized must start with his oppression, the deficiencies of his group. In order that his liberation may be complete, he must free himself from those inevitable conditions of his struggle. A nationalist, because he had to fight for the emergence and dignity of his nation, he must conquer himself and be free in relation to tha [...]

    8. Portrait du colonisé était le premier livre français que j'ai lu. J'apprends français depuis seulement deux ans, alors, c'était difficile, mais le contenu était vraiment pénétrant. Quelquefois, les idées de l'auteur m'a fait penser de celles de Erich Fromm sur le sujet de la liberté et aussi de celles de Freud sur le sujet de l'esprit de groupe (ou, plutôt, où Freud cite Lebon). En revanche, ce livre m'a appris la leçon d'avoir confiance en mes propres expériences pour obtenir la c [...]

    9. Albert Memmi was a well-educated Tunisian Jew whose seminal work on the relationship between colonizer and colonized is a projection of his inner turmoil, his own life story. The strength of this short book lies in Memmi's insights into the dependence of the colonizer on his subjects. He may oppress and exploit, but he ultimately needs the colonized in order to sustain colonialism, yet such a relationship is not sustainable. The oppression and exploitation leads to revolt. History has vindicated [...]

    10. "Oppression is the greatest calamity of humanity. It diverts and pollutes the best energies of man-of oppressed and oppressor alike." As a Tunisian Jew in the French colonial era, Memmi held a unique position in order to reflexively critique the relationship between the colonizer and colonized. His take on the psychology of the colonizer is that itself is a poisonous position, both for those who accept and those who refuse the role of oppressor. For those who refuse, Memmi says, any activity to [...]

    11. One of the things that endeared this book to me was Memmi's placement of himself, in this book, as a colonized person who identifies with the colonizer. It takes the judgement out of it. The fact that he intended this book to be psychological examination of the parties involved in the colonial relationship, not a revolutionary work, only serves to increase the sense of integrity the author carries. I will say that, as someone who would self identify as a "colonizer who refuses," it certainly giv [...]

    12. Memmi gives general observations on what characterizes the colonized and the colonizer. I thought the first part on the colonizer was a bit repetitive and harder to get thru--but the second section on the colonized is excellent.The characterizations are still highly relevant today.

    13. It was a bit of a tough read (maybe it's the late 60's French coming through in the translation?)I think he has extremely valid points and his analysis of the colonizers and the colonized are rather profound - even more so for it's time. One thing i did find strange however is that every single reference was to men (and it's so noticeable, as almost every sentence contains a he or his). At first I read it with an open mind thinking "Oh, maybe we're just talking about mankind, it might just be a [...]

    14. Deux portraits remarquables, comme les deux faces d'une même pièce, liée par une relation de pure oppression, une relation qui n'est point durable et qui ne peut se rompre que par la revolte.Memmi décrit de façon systématique cette relation coloniale, comme vécue entre la Tunésie et la France, mais applicable aux autres dépendances coloniaux et même à tout régime d'oppression. L'ouvrage ne permet pas uniquement de mieux comprendre les conséquences néfastes de la colonisation, même [...]

    15. Another book on Colonialism for my European thought and Culture class. Memmi splits this book into two distinct section, one focusing on the Colonizer, and one focusing on the Colonized. There is more of the Hegelian Dialectic evident in this book. To me, the quote that stuck out the most, the quote that could sum up the book would be found on page 83: "The point is that the colonized means little to the Colonizer."However, I rated it three stars due to the fact that, while the premise of the te [...]

    16. A crucial read for those interested in postcolonial studies. So many passages of this book still resonate today, and it's almost frightening how relevant some of Memmi's points are to the current political climate, not only internationally but also domestically.

    17. Albert Memmi is a Tunisian Jew who witnessed the turbulent period of the decolonization of French colonies in Africa. Due to his background, he is both the colonizer and the colonized, for the Arabs regard (and the Jews themselves conform to this) the Jews as part of the colonizers. But for the French, the Jews are part of the colonized, no matter how much effort the Jews put in to assimilate with the colonizers. Therefore, Memmi is able to provide an insight into the psychology of both the colo [...]

    18. Albert Memmi's book is a nauseating condemnation of the colonial system by way of two opposing portraits: Colonizer and Colonized, both convincingly fleshed out and sympathised for due to Memmi's having been a Tunisian Jew when the country was still a French colony, giving him a unique perspective on both sides of the glass. The first instinct is to condemn the colonizer, that conquering racist genteel type who goes on safari with his old boys club, and feel the utmost sadness for the colonized, [...]

    19. Memmi is a contemporary of Franz Fanon & similarly explores the mentality of the oppressed & the oppressor & it's psychological effects. This book is written as an extension of the author's self-examination & inner turmoil & is illuminating to say the least. The first part of the book explores the mentality of the colonizer, it's contradictions & conflicts. The differences between those who actively oppress & those that benefit from the oppression & are a member o [...]

    20. This is the book that became a blueprint for anti-colonial action when it was published in the 1957. Memmi came from Tunisia, where first-hand he learned exclusion by the elites. In 1956, he moved to France in permanent exile and began writing. The colonizer denies liberty. “The more freely he breathes, the more the colonized are choked.” “The colonial situation manufactures colonialists, just as it manufactures the colonized.” Charitable racism is where the colonizer can live benevolent [...]

    21. Albert Memmi has written a detailed portrait of two groups of people and the relationship they share. It is a moving account as well as being educational and theoretical. His descriptions are vivid and informative. His personal, almost conversational style is very welcome and makes for a speedy read - and even though I stalled around page 100, with a little effort I was able to get back into it and motor through enjoyably to the end. There are lots of quotable quotes in this book and my own copy [...]

    22. A friend of mine recommended this book. It was written by Memmi (a Tunisian Jew) in 1957 in the middle of colonial independence. It was probably a revelation at the time but it has all been said before and now seems totally obvious and rather irrelevant. The only interesting point for me was his reference to the return to religion by some the "colonised" freedom fighters and how, in his opinion, this rejection of all things western is a natural result of being treated as inferior. At the time of [...]

    23. If it wasn't for school, I never would have picked this up. I really enjoyed it, I loved my class discussions on the book more so.I don't think I would have enjoyed the book as much without the class discussions.The main idea the book is that the colonizer and the colonized can't live without one another. The book breaks down the ideas and it can be applied to most forms of oppression. The book makes you look inside yourself and see how you too are a colonizer; even if, you may fall under the ma [...]

    24. Un livre bouleversant qui dresse un portrait brutal et honnête de la colonisation. Les Québécois s'y retrouveront de façon fappantes dans trop de passages : ''De même, le colonisé ne connaissait plus sa langue que sous la forme d'un parler indigent. Pour sortir du quotidien et de l'affectif les plus élémentaires, il était obligé de s'adresser à la langue du colonisateur. Revenant à un destin autonome et séparé, il retourne aussitôt à sa propre langue. On lui fait remarquer ironiq [...]

    25. Written when North Africa was shaking free of France in the late 1950s, this little tome accurately plots the emotional and psychological matrix of imperial power from both sides of the gun. It's mainly valuable for the way it applies the concepts of individual psychology to political groups, but at this point most of its insights are too carefully even-handed or too well understood to make much of an impression. In other words, it's interesting as a historical document but disappointing at this [...]

    26. Memmi distills the age-old relationship between the colonizer and the colonized by examining each of their motivations, and the futility of the cycle of colonialism. Although he presents a somewhat dated view, his interpretation of the colonizer - especially of the colonizer who tries to fight colonialism - is profound. While I would have liked to see him give more agency to those colonized, this is a valuable account of colonialism to read with a critical mind.

    27. Memmi has some beautiful insights into his own experience and the generalized experience of those in the relationship of Colonizer and Colonized. The way he describes this relationship is at times technical; otherwise emotional.Opened my eyes a bit to the duality and dependence inherent in a dysfunctional relationship. Can be expanded to fit many different relationships. Wrote a paper on how it relates to the situation of a customer service representative.

    28. Only one the best damned books ever written! I find myself thinking about this book when I am at work, downtown, or anywhere. It just seems to pop into my head. It is one of those books that gets memorized with the first read. The Powerbroker is still the book I think about the most, but this one is up there.

    29. The subject of colonialism has rarely been treated more lucidly and devastatingly than in this book. Albert Memmi's characterology of master and servant has a personal as well as a social dimension. The pecking order he describes has its accurate analogues in the lives of all South Africans and many middle-class Americans. I can't speak for others.

    30. Okay. It's a little naive. And it's hardly the most umdata-driven book. But it's got a solid philosophical premise--colonization makes the colonizer and the colonized alike into twisted monsters of themselves. Interesting idea.

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