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Foucault, Freire and Guha’s Theories As Vital Thoughts for De-Colonialism

Foucault, Freire and Guha all share almost a similar reason on the topic of colonialism as something that can be overcome by the oppressed if they all work towards a common goal to push for their freedom. Their theories on the topic of power are vital in helping communities regain their once lost power to being colonized. Foucault makes it clear that knowledge is a political tool that can be used by the marginalized to fight against the oppressors. Freire believes that the oppressed can be liberated if their struggle for liberation comes from them. Guha steers his direction on power and colonialism on the ideology that oppressed people need to take the initiative to take up the responsibility of their leadership to overcome oppressors. Foucault, Freire, and Guha’s theories emphasize de-colonial thought in the use of colonial knowledge, learning about power to tackle the oppressors, and proper management of power, all of which enhance or necessitate the transformation of power relations between the colonizer and colonized.

Foucault terms learning colonial knowledge and using it in regard to fighting against oppression as among the important ways that can be used to help de-colonize and re-gain power among oppressed. Foucault writes that, “While the human subject is placed in relations of production and of signification, he is equally placed in power relations” (778). By this he seeks to explain the role that the oppressed have in fighting for their freedom using the power knowledge. His ideology also supports the fact that a better connection between the colonizer and colonized can be reestablished once the oppressed showcase themselves as worthy governors of themselves plus their territory. Even as per historical events, states that were colonized were way behind in terms of their political knowledge and organization while the oppressors were ahead in terms of political systems. This shows the truth in Foucault’s theory to establish a power relationship between colonizers and the colonized.

Freire makes it clear in his theory that the oppressed need to work hand-in-hand to champion for independence as this makes it easier to overcome the oppressor and regain power. According to Freire, “They will not gain this liberation by chance but through the praxis of their quest for it, through their recognition of the necessity to fight for it…” (45). In this excerpt, Freire explains about the importance for the oppressed to be able to combine their efforts for their freedom, as it is a sign of their dedication plus desire for own governorship. His theory is useful in the empowerment of oppressed communities as it proves the capability of overcoming colonization and helps establish self governance. It is also practical as it once again proves the importance of solidarity to champion for similar agendas. Past events of states that were able to fight and regain their independence proved successful as a result of the unification, proving the truth in his theory.

Guha’s theory on power revolves around the proper management of power as a way to maintain self governance, decolonize, and build power relations between the oppressed and oppressor. His theory is also a fundamental voice of empowerment that relates to a lot of colonial stories for African and European states that experienced the problem and succeeded as a result of portraying proper power management. Most of the states that were also once colonized have been able to maintain relations with their colonizers and continued a good relationship for trade plus other helpful relations. A similar situation can be seen in the case of Martin Luther King who aimed at unifying the black people and became a threat to the United States government, something that prompted a huge force by the US to stop his efforts (Democracy Now, 2:15-2:25). As Luther King empowered and utilized his power, black people were slowly being empowered and had a voice that the US government was concerned about.

The theories of Foucault, Freire and Guha are educative and useful in the thought of decolonization as they portray strategies that have been used by oppressed states to regain their independence and succeed. Most importantly the theories are practical and have proven to be helpful in mending broken relationships between colonizers and the oppressors. States that portray proper management and development after gaining their independence tend to establish respect from oppressors as it is a sign of the ability to rule over their territory. The theories are also educative in the sense that they depict actual situations of states that were able to regain their power and respect.

Works Cited

“Daily Show for January 17, 2022.” Democracy Now!, Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.

Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed: 30th Anniversary Edition. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2014.

Foucault, Michel. “The Subject and Power.” vol. 8, no. 4, pp. pp. 777-795. Accessed 23 Jan. 2022.


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