Hybrid culture

Posted by: | March 24, 2009 | Comments Off on Hybrid culture

I had a difficult time for a while trying to pick out of the article what exactly the author’s definition of ‘hybrid culture’ was. Not that the article was not interesting throughout, but until the end I was not all that clear on his meaning.

It was interesting to read about Canclini’s take on the commercialization, if not fabrication of popular culture in Latin American societies. Even more so, how the government and tourist industry exploit what might have once been legitimate and important cultural traditions and employs it for its own benefit. It’s a fascinating link about the interdependence of the different worlds, such as folk culture which represents the ordinary, and politics which represents elite society. It is this interchangeability of the traditional culture being used to enhance modern society, such as to attract tourism, as well as the transformation of popular culture that modernization inflicts.

On page 262. when Canclini is concluding his paper he writes ‘Cultural practices are performances more than actions.’ I feel that this is a very blanket statement. It may express his views, which he backs up, about how other societies perceive Latin American cultures, but it degrades any individual connections to certain cultural traditions and the meanings they still hold for some. Both tourists and country-men alike may be manipulated to some extent on how certain ‘popular cultures’ are expressed, but they does not mean that they are only of a shallow significance.

Cancilini also discusses how with modernization came the permeability of borders. ‘Pop culture’ has lost its authenticity, so now it is ‘just a performance,’ as he says in his conclusion. Depending on geographical position and/or susceptibility to globalization, cultures are fusing with one another and creating ‘hybrid’ cultures. He expresses this best on page 261 by saying: “…today all cultures are border cultures. All the arts develop in relation to other arts: handicrafts migrate from the countryside to the city; movies, videos, and songs that recount events of one people are interchanged with others. Thus, cultures lose the exclusive relation with their territory, but they gain in communication and knowledge.”

Cultures aren’t necessarily fading, they’re fortifying one another. I don’t know if I buy in to the opinion that this means culture is a dated concept, its just going through a change. This is evident in the examples used on how the rural and urban influence one another, and in his examples of border towns. Cultures are definatley fusing, but this doesnt mean they’re losing significance. Popular culture tells the story of a countries history, globalization and ‘hybrid’ societies are just another part of this story.


Comments are closed.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind

Spam prevention powered by Akismet