History and Systems of Psychology PSY502
PSYCHOLOGY IN THE THIRD WORLD
Third world countries are considered those regions and countries that gained independence and self-rule
after World War II. Some of these countries were under the direct occupation of the European countries
and America; some others were under the control of other occupying forces. These countries included
Pakistan and India, most of the countries in Africa, some in the Far East as Vietnam and Indonesia, and the
biggest of them all was China. Where the II World War brought numerous sufferings to mankind, it also
resulted in freeing most of these regions and countries form the curse of modern slavery or colonialism.
Frantz Fanon (1925-1961)
Post World War II psychologists have asked themselves a question if being colonized by a foreign power, it
influences the psyche of the people of the region? Frantz Fanon was one of such psychologists. Fanon
worked in Algeria as a psychiatrist. Algeria is a country in South American continent which was previously a
colony of France. With reference to psychology in the Third World, Fanon is a prominent contributor.
Frantz Fanon was a black African who was educated in France, specialized in psychiatry and joined a
hospital in Algeria. Frantz Fanon's relatively short life yielded two potent and influential statements of anti-
colonial revolutionary thought, Black Skin White Masks (1952) and The Wretched of the Earth (1961),
which have made Fanon a prominent contributor to postcolonial studies.
Fanon was born in 1925, in a middle-class family, in French colony of Martinique. He left Martinique in
1943, when he volunteered to fight with the Free French in World War II and he remained in France after
the war to study medicine and psychiatry on scholarship in Lyon. Here he began writing political essays and
plays, and he married a Frenchwoman. Before he left France, based on his lectures and experiences in Lyon,
Fanon had already published his first analysis of the effects of racism and colonization, "Black Skin, White
Masks" (BSWM), originally titled "An Essay for the Disalienation of Blacks". Fanon died in 1961.
He tried to look at mental diseases and also at the struggle of the colonized people of Algeria. As a result of
his practice and observation he came to have some interesting ideas which are included in his two famous
books. His books are available worldwide and have been translated into Urdu as well.
History and Systems of Psychology PSY502
He put forward the view that as a result of occupation, a region or country comes to have two types of
Both the colonizer and the colonized have different psyches. Colonizer is the aggressor who tends to
dominate the colonized. The colonized on the other hand is obviously meek and receptive towards the
colonizer who tends to impose him. Another important aspect of the colonizer, colonized relationship is
that the colonizer considers himself superior and the colonized inferior. This means that the practices, views
and beliefs of the colonizer are supported as superior by him while the colonized also accepts this. Further
the colonizer also considers his culture superior and the colonized agrees.
As a result of this division of superiority-inferiority, people feel anger and rage. This anger and rage is
expressed in various forms such as political turmoil, protests against the rulers etc. The rage is significant
because it is not directed against the real culprit, the colonizer, but against each other. The colonizer uses
this tool to keep a hold on the colonized. In other word, in order to ease his survival the colonizer facilitates
the flow of this rage against the colonized, by dividing and directing it against religious sects, tribal
belongingness, language and other cultural differences.
When the colonized adopts the ways of thinking of the colonizer, this adoption in Fanon's view is called the
"Colonial Mentality". Colonial mentality is considering the culture, language and the general way of life of
the colonizer as superior and considering these of the colonized as inferior.
Fanon put forward the view that mental disease is the result of rage of the colonized on one hand and the
adoption of colonial mentality on the other hand. He saw in his practice that when some of his mental
patients started to fight or take part in the struggle to free Algeria from the French control, they started to
rid themselves of their diseases also, so his suggested method of treatment was to make his patients
conscious of their rage and their acceptance of colonial mentality and prepare them to wage a battle against
the colonial powers. An important thing to note in this regard is that the battle may not be fought with guns
only, but also in schools and colleges by advancing in education; in hospitals by advancing in research and
developing new medicine etc.; and in games and sports also.
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