Hybridity and Identity

Bhabha states that “although there is always an entertainment and encouragement of cultural diversity there is always also a corresponding containment of it”(Rutherford 208). Bhabha is meaning that, within Modernist and Conservative ideology, the amalgamation of diverse cultures is fine as long as it aligns with the principles of the dominant culture. To be otherwise is deemed “archaic”, or as “belonging to the past.”

According to Bhabha, this is where the importance of hybridity surfaces through its function as a third space from which an emergence of new positions is able to extend (Rutherford 211).

In relation to identity and identification, hybridity gives rise to a new area of meaning and representation. Identification is formulated through relationship with an “object of otherness”. Rudge refers to this process as a conversation between Self and Other and is based on polarity e.g. black/white, male/female etc. (Rudge 10). While being useful in its ability to facilitate identification, it is lacking in the way it denies the intricacies of human experience. Therefore, the use of preset models and paradigms is both dangerous and limiting as it subjugates marginalized cultures within the understanding of the dominant culture. As hybridity opens a new space for the development of new ideas and socio-political constructs, it demands a retranslation, rethinking, and extension of principles (Rutherford 216) enabling a more productive and creative engagement with identification.


Works cited:

Rudge, Mandy. “Who I Think I Might Be Right Now.” Conversations: Identity 4 artists/4 voices. Mark Dustin, Te Manawa Museums Trust, 2009, 6-13.

Rutherford, Jonathan. “The Third Space. Interview with Homi Bhabha.Identity: Community, Culture, Difference. Lawrence and Wishart, 1990, 207-221.


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