DOMINATED MAN by Albert Memmi


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Mr. Memmi's ""dominated man"" is, of course, the ""oppressed man"" of the twentieth century, whether he be the Negro, the Jew, the inhabitant of a colonized country, the proletarian, the servant, or--a woman. The phenomenon which he purports to study in each of those manifestations is that of oppression, that curious result of the situation in which one man regards himself as superior to another man (or woman) and by virtue of which the latter is relegated to second-class citizenship. The trouble with the book, as with Memmi's previous works, is that, while it is an interesting enough record of the inhumanity of humans, it is so inadequate intellectually with respect to definitions and distinctions that the reader comes away with a certain amount of ersatz erudition, but with no wisdom with respect to the problem. Mr. Memmi's understanding of racism, for, example, is so unsophisticated that it fails to distinguish it from chauvinism, or xenophobia, or even from plain parochialism-which is very like, in a book on clothing, not being able to distinguish between a bathing suit and a suit of armor. The book has its uses, but the shedding of light on ""domination"" is not one of them.

Pub Date: Nov. 15th, 1968
Publisher: Grossman