Homi K. Bhabha The revision of the history of critical theory rests … on the notion of cultural difference, not cultural diversity. That iteration negates our sense of the origins of the struggle. It undermines our sense of the homogenizing effects of cultural symbols and icons, by questioning our sense of the authority of cultural synthesis in general.

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Hybridization takes many forms:linguistic, cultural,political, racial, etc. Linguistic examples include pidgin and creole languages, and these echo the foundational use of the term by the linguist and cultural theorist Mikhail Bakhtin ,who used it to suggest the disruptive and transfiguring power of multivocal language situations and, by extension, of multivocal narratives.

For him, the recognition of this ambivalent space of cultural identity may help us to overcome the exoticism of cultural diversity in favour of the recognition of an empowering hybridity within which cultural difference may operate: It is significant that the productive capacities of this Third Space have a colonial or postcolonial provenance.

For a willingness to descend into that alien territory. This use of the term has been widely criticized, since it usually implies negating and neglecting the imbalance and inequality of the power relations it references. The idea of hybridity also underlies other attempts to stress the mutuality of cultures in the colonial and post-colonial process in expressions of syncreticity, cultural synergy and transculturation.

The criticism of the term referred to above stems from the perception that theories that stress mutuality necessarily downplay oppositionality, and increase continuing post-colonial dependence. There is,however,nothing in the idea of hybridity as such that suggests that mutuality negates the hierarchical nature of the imperial process or that it involves the idea of an equal exchange.

This is,however,the way in which some proponents of decolonization and anti-colonialism have interpreted its current usage in colonial discourse theory. It has also been subject to critique as part of a general dissatisfaction with colonial discourse theory on the part of critics such as Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Benita Parry and Aijaz Ahmad. These critiques stress the textualist and idealist basis of such analysis and point to the fact that they neglect specific local differences.

The assertion of a shared post-colonial condition such as hybridity has been seen as part of the tendency of discourse analysis to de-historicize and de-locate cultures from their temporal, spatial, geographical and linguistic contexts, and to lead to an abstract, globalized concept of the textual that obscures the specificities of particular cultural situations.

Pointing out that the investigation of the discursive construction of colonialism does not seek to replace or exclude other forms such as historical, geographical, economic, military or political, Robert Young suggests that the contribution of colonial discourse analysis, in which concepts such as hybridity are couched, provides a significant framework for that other work by emphasising that all perspectives on colonialism share and have to deal with a common discursive medium which was also that of colonialism itself:.

Young However, Young himself offers a number of objections to the indiscriminate use of the term. Hybridity thus became, particularly at the turn of the century, part of a colonialist discourse of racism. Young draws our attention to the dangers of employing a term so rooted in a previous set of racist assumptions, but he also notes that there is a difference between unconscious processes of hybrid mixture, or creolization, and a conscious and politically motivated concern with the deliberate disruption of homogeneity.

He notes that for Bakhtin , for example, hybridity is politicized, made contestatory, so that it embraces the subversion and challenge of division and separation. Young does, however,warn of the unconscious process of repetition involved in the contemporary use of the term. According to him, when talking about hybridity, contemporary cultural discourse cannot escape the connection with the racial categories of the past in which hybridity had such a clear racial meaning.

This is a subtle and persuasive objection to the concept. In this sense, as in much else in the structuralist and poststructuralist legacy, the concept of hybridity emphasizes a typically twentieth-century concern with relations within a field rather than with an analysis of discrete objects, seeing meaning as the produce of such relations rather than as intrinsic to specific events or objects.

Whilst assertions of national culture and of pre-colonial traditions have played an important role in creating anti-colonial discourse and in arguing for an active decolonizing project, theories of the hybrid nature of post-colonial culture assert a different model for resistance, locating this in the subversive counter-discursive practices implicit in the colonial ambivalence itself and so undermining the very basis on which imperialist and colonialist discourse raises its claims of superiority.

Mishra ; Parry ; Smyth



Akizilkree It is that Third Space, though unrepresentable in itself, which constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricized, and read anew. Bhabha Both the provinces and the empire experienced a number of changes, which cannot be formulated in terms of hybridisation, syncretism or acculturation cf. The criticism is true to some extent: For instance, the later administration of the English and their missionaries in the same area created a very different situation which by no means was built on mediation cf. Instead, we find clusters of interwoven fibres, that is, practices or material patterns, of varying extent in time and space that may coincide with an ethnic group, but we should not be surprised if this way of looking at social practice turns out as something that crisscrosses assumed cultural units, regions or ethnicities. These observations and insights are the result of empirical observations recognised by many anthropologists, but seem in general to have surpassed most archaeologists. The material dimension is not to be forgotten here. The contact situation of the upper himi is, however, only one example of a colonial encounter with its own social and material circumstances.


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