The issues and concerns of what constitute [North-South]… relations occur
within a “reality” whose content has for the most part been defined by the
representational practices of the “first world.”
Cross-cultural contact cashes in some cultures while others germinate.
Hooray for the hybrid. Hip-hip for the mongrel. Hallelujah for the global me.
COMPELLED BY the historical analysis of vocabularies of cultural mixture in the previous chapter, I now turn to contemporary representations of hybridity and address the following questions: Is there continuity between mestizaje, creolization, métissage, and transculturation in their historical contexts, and current characterizations of hybridity? What issues are incorporated and, conversely, what dimensions of hybridity already discussed in this book are omitted from present-day public discourse? To attend to these questions, I examine representations of hybridity in elite print media.1 In agreement with the first epigraph’s characterizations of representational practices in international relations, I set out to analyze how some public intellectuals (e.g., academics like Cowen and journalists like Zachary in the second and third epigraphs) use hybridity, and to explore how helpful these uses are in advancing our understanding of intercultural relations.
Understanding how much importance is given to power in intercultural relations is my primary objective as I consider how major U.S. media use the notion of hybridity. In this endeavor, critical discourse analysis is a suitable analytical approach. According to its leading proponent, Dutch scholar Teun van Dijk (1993), critical discourse analysis focuses on “the role of discourse in the (re)production and challenge of dominance” (p. 249, emphasis in original). Even as it recognizes that resistance to power plays an integral part in social relations, critical discourse