The Location Of Culture Analysis Essay

The Location of Culture by Homi Bhabha (1994)

This book is all about the "'hybrid"' or "'hybridity."' No, not the Prius and not some vegetable mixed from an apple and a toad. It's about the way people—especially colonized people—form a mixed, "'hybrid"' identity just by imitating or "'mimicking"' the colonizer's culture and language.

Why is this important? Because when you mimic someone, it can feel pretty strange and destabilizing for the person being mimicked. And for Bhabha, that means power and political resistance.

Lots of academics on the left have criticized Bhabha for his theory of hybridity because they say it's not really political. What do you think? Is forming a "'hybrid"' identity based on mimicking your oppressor an effective form of political activism?

Bhabha is kind of known for not making sense. In fact, scholars who aren't into theory point to Bhabha as an example of academic gibberish. Bhabha has defended himself by pointing out that scientists aren't expected to write or talk in the language of everyday people; therefore, why should academic theoreticians? Does Bhabha have a point that theory deserves its own jargon, like other professional fields? How is having that sort of tool especially important for a theory like postcolonialism?

Rethinking questions of identity, social agency and national affiliation, Bhabha provides a working, if controversial, theory of cultural hybridity - one that goes far beyond previous attempts by others. In The Location of Culture, he uses concepts such as mimicry, interstice, hybridity, and liminality to argue that cultural production is always most productive where it isRethinking questions of identity, social agency and national affiliation, Bhabha provides a working, if controversial, theory of cultural hybridity - one that goes far beyond previous attempts by others. In The Location of Culture, he uses concepts such as mimicry, interstice, hybridity, and liminality to argue that cultural production is always most productive where it is most ambivalent. Speaking in a voice that combines intellectual ease with the belief that theory itself can contribute to practical political change, Bhabha has become one of the leading post-colonial theorists of this era....more

Paperback, 440 pages

Published September 1st 2004 by Routledge (first published 1994)

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