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Book Reviews

F. Laplantine - A. Nouss, Le métissage

LAPLANTINE, F. - NOUSS, A., Le métissage, Flammarion, Paris 1997; tr. it. Il pensiero meticcio, Elèuthera, Milano 2006.

If misunderstood, métissage would imply the existence of two originally pure individuals or, more generally, a homogenous set which would at some point encounter another set and produce an "impure" or "heterogeneous" phenomenon. Contrary to all reassuring dreams of an original purity, the authors of this short volume maintain, instead, that métissage is opposed to the homogenous/heterogeneous polarity. In short, métissage is a compound whose components retain their own wholeness throughout a constant dialogue, though at times this can be a conflictual and painful confrontation. This premise is followed by a first descriptive section, where métissage is supported by some remarkable examples: the history of the Mediterranean, the invention of the Latin Americas, the creole languages, etc. At this point the second and final section is introduced, where the method becomes, for some aspects, prescriptive: to claim métissage as an interpretative paradigm able to substitute the old, and by now unsustainable, identity fantasy. The philosophical references, sometimes randomly used, are not surprising: Nietzsche's Zarathustra, Deleuze's rhyzoma, but also Foucault, Lyotard e Derrida. Without origin there is no belonging but only endless bricolage: nothing is left but the eulogy of an "infinite misunderstanding", a perennially transitorial situation which -- according to Laplantine and Nouss -- has become the basis for a mestizo ethics: to practise métissage in the same way as Nietzsche invites to immerse the self into the innocence of becoming. The political significance of this practice, however, remains an unanswered question.


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