Posted by: | March 10, 2009 | Comments Off on Transculturation

I found this weeks readings a good follow up to Vasconcelos and Wade’s discussion on mestizo. From the readings of Ortiz I found out the limitations of how this term can be used and discussed in certain contexts and how it can be expanded to encompass other subjects. I believed that it is the the natural coming together of people and how it comes out. Vasconcelos believes this leads to a superior mixed race, and Wade thinks it serves a function for displacement and identity questioning.

Ortiz challenges Vasconelos and Wades arguments. Mestizaje according to Ortiz seems to be too narrow of a concept. It does not encompasses economic, social and political processes which allow for some societal traits to be above others, despite including the simple racial mixture. Instead of assimilating the natives to the conquistadors and creating a ‘cosmic race’, instead its about learning how each culture could contribute to one another’s cultures and allow all parties to be in the mixture. Ortiz uses the term of ‘transculturation’ rather than the more commonly know ‘acculturation’. He talks about how this term can encapsulate different complexities of ‘transmutation of culture’ such as class; both economic and social, religion, ethics, art, language, ideology, sexuality and other parts of life.

The two article by Cornejo Polar were very good at explaining how cultural representations are influenced by artistic works of other cultures. Written works of indegenismo which have a European aspect to them by being in prose that describes the native culture.

Millington emphasises the point that trans-culturation is better to the acculturation term. She describes acculturation as referring to a cultural take over as opposed to an mixing or a slow process that influences opposing cultures. Millington goes on to talk about written works that support the thought of the effectiveness of this term. The specific example from Neil Larsen is that transculturation allows for a more equitable cultural influence, performing as a illusion solution that does not deal with the issues of ‘social duality’. While this seems to be true to an extent, it is not completely black or white. I see the this as some sort of quick fix rather than dealing with the real issues that have implications in Latin America.


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