The Space of dictatorship: Monénembo, hidden transcripts, and a metonymy of violence



Grayson H (2018) The Space of dictatorship: Monénembo, hidden transcripts, and a metonymy of violence. Research in African Literatures, 49 (3), pp. 153-177.

This article centers on the representation of dictatorship by Guinean author Tierno Monénembo and aims to elucidate his fictional writing by reading it against recent theories on violence and sovereignty. In line with Nganang's notion of protestas, a metonymic chain of violence emerges in a number of forms: spectacular and subtle, physical and psychological. These constitute what Scott labels a "dramaturgy of domination" (Domination and the Arts of Resistance). Disparity between public and hidden transcripts perpetuates a state of tension but also reveals spaces of dissent. In texts that not only denounce the crimes of Touré's regime, but critique the ongoing injustices enacted in Guinea and elsewhere, Monénembo writes resistance as a commitment to combating this violence, which is characterized by débrouillard practice. His fictional subjects' capacity to move between worlds responds to calls for a wider recasting of African subjectivity.

dictatorship; dictators; novels; African literature; sovereignty; samba; protagonists; violence; violent crimes; benevolence

Research in African Literatures: Volume 49, Issue 3

FundersUniversity of Warwick
Publication date10/10/2018
Publication date online10/12/2018
Date accepted by journal10/10/2016

People (1)


Dr Hannah Grayson

Dr Hannah Grayson

Senior Lecturer, French