Toward Critical Transculturalism
Cultural experience or indeed every cultural form is radically, quintessentially
hybrid, and if it has been the practice in the West since Immanuel Kant to
isolate cultural and aesthetic realms from the worldly domain, it is now time
to rejoin them.
—Edward Said, Culture and Imperialism
THE CLAIM that hybridity is symptomatic of resistance to globalization is troublesome, and the less forceful assertion that cultural mixture reflects the lightness of globalization’s hand is misguided. Hybridity as a characteristic of culture is compatible with globalization because it helps globalization rule, as Stuart Hall once put it, through a variety of local capitals. Hybridity entails that traces of other cultures exist in every culture, thus offering foreign media and marketers transcultural wedges for forging affective links between their commodities and local communities. As a discourse of intercultural relations, hybridity conjures up an active exchange that leads to the mutual transformation of both sides. Mainstream public discourse frames this exchange as benign and beneficial. The sheer repetition of the word “hybridity” in hundreds of media outlets and dozens of academic disciplines gives hybridity an aura of legitimacy and hides its inherent contradictions as it mystifies globalization’s material effects. Hybridity, then, is not just amenable to globalization. It is the cultural logic of globalization.
As the cultural logic of globalization, hybridity is not posthegemonic. By now this book has substantiated the claim that hybridity does not implicate the relenting of inequality. Whether in Lebanese Television reception, in Mexican Television production, or in U.S. journalistic discourse, unequal intercultural relations shape most aspects of cultural mixture. In many instances there are causal links between politico-economic power and cultural hybridity. This, however, does not mean that hybridity is tantamount to an effect of dominance. The processes and outcomes of hybridity are too convoluted to be explained by an always already
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Publication information: Book title: Hybridity, or the Cultural Logic of Globalization. Contributors: Marwan M. Kraidy - Author. Publisher: Temple University Press. Place of publication: Philadelphia. Publication year: 2005. Page number: 148.
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