Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

Posted by: | March 23, 2009 | Comments Off on Theory of mixture III: Hybridity

First of all, I must admit that Canclini’s article was a bit difficult to follow. He really deals with numerous complex themes and he doesn’t really focus on the term ‘hybridity’ which gave me troubles to understand its meaning. I hope we’ll clarify this in class.

However the overall impression I get is that hybridity is fundamentally linked with modernity and the different processes that are linked to it such as urban growth, deteritorialisation, migrations and transnationalisation. The former cultural hierarchy that used to be the standard no longer exists because of the amount of interactions, exchanges, migrations that happen all the time between what was before considered as cultural territories. Power relationships are no longer concentric and become more and more complex. Sociopolitical relations are nowadays decentred and multidetermined which has completely changed the nature and the former exclusivity of cultures.

I also think that Canclini’s reflexion is very much centred on the idea that territories have been transcended. “All cultures are border cultures”. I found really interesting the passage concerning the different cities at the US/Mexico borders. The hybridization of people’s cultures there is extremely emphasized. I find fascinating and very optimistic that these processes has helped to develop a much more tolerant and open interpretation of cultural identities. To be honest the reason why I was particularly interested by this topic is because I’ve done my review paper on the cultural identities of Central American immigrants in San Francisco focusing on the mural paintings of the Latin American district.

I think that what this article says is that it is practically impossible today for a culture to stay “authentic” and not to encounter others influences, which is the base for explaining the process of hybridization. The example of historical monuments integrated to the dynamics of the city was a really good example of hybridity; the interaction of memory (history) and change (modernity).

Basically the difference between hybridity and mestizaje for example would be that the way Canclini explains hybridization looks like a report on the state of cultural identities in our modern world, whereas mestizaje is an objective, an ideal to reach. Hybridity has also to do with the strong acceptation and emphasis of these cultural identities at the intersection of different worlds by the people who are directly concerned. Once again I think I’m gonna stop my ramblings here, before saying anything stupid. These concepts become more and more difficult to really understand.


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