what exactly does he mean by hybrid? Is he talking peas?

Posted by: | March 26, 2009 | Comments Off on what exactly does he mean by hybrid? Is he talking peas?

This whole idea of hybridity, proposed by Canclini seems problematic to me. Not necessarily the way I had conceived of hybridity before, in thinking about different types of pea plants, and the outcomes of their cross pollination, but in the way that Canclini seems to posit it at a meeting of two distinctly different and contradictory ideas. I get a strong sense that he sees the modern and folkloric as contradictory as well as the modern and the popular. What I fail to completely understand is how this is the case at all. Having read Williams we know that those who are in the countryside welcomed the advances of technology brought along with modernity. And in many ways, the country side was home to some of the most modern advances. In terms of the popular and modern, he seems confused. Clearly what is popular can be modern, and can be hegemonic in its own right. Look at futeball, or even certain eating practices. Whether they began in the city or not seems beside the point. They are things appropriated by massive groups of people, or initiated by them, and not by elite culture at all.
Interestingly though, I see how Canclini can make a case for hybridity using the countless examples he does. Humor, collective memory, successful production of handicrafts, graffiti, mass media, political upheaval, popular expressions of traditional religions, migrations, artistic movements and tourism, for example all contain examples of the hybrid or a blending of the six ideas he presents at the beginning.
I disagreed with his process of modernity however, even if it was discussing the basis for his concept of hybridity. I disagree that the modern=cultured=hegemonic, and would counter that the traditional can = cultured, and that often the subaltern can = hegemonic. I keep thinking back to his section on the massification of culture and the way that the subaltern often became quite powerful in activism and protest. Groups like the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, or even the people in Eva Peron’s piece idealize the power of the supposed, uneducated, uncultured masses. I suppose the massification of culture can be an example of hybridity, but I don’t see it in contrast to the modern, cultured or hegemonic necessarily.


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