According to Mikhail Bakhtin, the material and corporeal “lower stratum” includes the symbols that refer to the nether regions of the human body. By adopting this approach to writing in a dictatorship, Labou Tansi most likely wanted to protect his work and himself from possible reprisals by his country’s political authorities. More importantly, however, this move constitutes a strategy of subversion of Marxist ideology: the focus on the material and corporal “lower stratum” (indistinguishable from the carnivalesque) is a form of resistance to what Bakhtin calls official discourse, and becomes a way of reclaiming the writer’s literary autonomy.
"Sony Labou Tansi : la question du bas matériel et corporel,"
Présence Francophone: Revue internationale de langue et de littérature: Vol. 66
, Article 8.
Available at: https://crossworks.holycross.edu/pf/vol66/iss1/8