The Sacrificed Generation: Youth, History, and the Colonized Mind in Madagascar

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9780520229518: The Sacrificed Generation: Youth, History, and the Colonized Mind in Madagascar

Youth and identity politics figure prominently in this provocative study of personal and collective memory in Madagascar. A deeply nuanced ethnography of historical consciousness, it challenges many cross-cultural investigations of youth, for its key actors are not adults but schoolchildren. Lesley Sharp refutes dominant assumptions that African children are the helpless victims of postcolonial crises, incapable of organized, sustained collective thought or action.

She insists instead on the political agency of Malagasy youth who, as they decipher their current predicament, offer potent, historicized critiques of colonial violence, nationalist resistance, foreign mass media, and schoolyard survival. Sharp asserts that autobiography and national history are inextricably linked and therefore must be read in tandem, a process that exposes how political consciousness is forged in the classroom, within the home, and on the street in Madagascar.

Keywords: Critical pedagogy

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From the Inside Flap:

"This fascinating study, grounded in vivid depictions of local life, relates to larger questions about the postcolonial exercise of political and economic power, when ostensibly sovereign states such as Madagascar are so profoundly controlled by international organizations unattached to any particular state. Sharp asks how young people in these radically changing circumstances are taught and teach themselves to understand their past, present and future."—Gillian Feeley-Harnik, author of A Green Estate

"Sharp's work is in the best tradition of classic anthropology, extending the critiques of Fanon, Mannoni, Memmi, and Freire by examining the effects of the socialist revolution, the birth of Malagasy nationalism, and the imposition of a postcolonial pedagogy on the minds of the 'sacrificed generation.' Her detailed ethnography is superb."—Nancy Scheper-Hughes, author of Death without Weeping

About the Author:

Lesley A. Sharp is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and author of The Possessed and the Dispossessed: Spirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town (California, 1993).

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