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The Location of Culture [Format Kindle]

Homi K. Bhabha

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Présentation de l'éditeur

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 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.

Biographie de l'auteur

Homi K Bhabha (1949- ) Born into the Parsi community of Bombay, Bhabha is a leading voice in postcolonial studies. He is currently Professor of English and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University

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  • Format : Format Kindle
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  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 440 pages
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  • Editeur : Routledge; Édition : 2 (12 octobre 2012)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B009W3J8EU
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Amazon.com: 3.8 étoiles sur 5  26 commentaires
198 internautes sur 217 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Even though this is one of the most highly regarded ... 11 janvier 2003
Par matthewslaughter - Publié sur Amazon.com
...theory books of the 1990s, its fame and reputation seem overblown. None of the other reviews posted here have really stated what Bhabha tries to accomplish in "The Location of Culture," so I'll give it a crack, even though I'm no expert on postcolonial theory.
To save you all some time, many of Bhabha's key points are made in the first two pages of his book. For instance: "In-between spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood--singular or communal--that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society" (p. 1-2). Elsewhere, in-betweenness is easily the key concept in the book, as well as the notion of HYBRIDITY. The reason the modernist model of Colonialism is doomed to fail is not only because it needs the Other (the colonized) to validate its own supremacy (and to fulfill its desires), but also because it engages in what Bhabha refers to as "contra-modernity": modernity in "colonial conditions where its imposition is itself the denial of historical freedom, civic autonomy and the 'ethical' choice of refashioning" (p. 241). Bhabha finds that by examining the borderlines between Colonial power and Colonial oppression, a truer history of global populations can be obtained. In one of the finer passages in the book, Bhabha examines a scene from Salman Rushdie's controversial 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses" and descibes how the postcolonial body--shaped by an outside nationalist culture--is representative of the colonizer, yet the colonizers "can never let the national history look at itself narcissistically in the eye" (p. 168).
Now let me preface my explanation by saying this is what I THINK Bhabha is getting at. It's not that his prose is "confusing," as other reviewers have stated here--although it is exceedingly "academic" (and there is nothing wrong with that, in and of itself)--but it is mired in the theoryspeak of the West that Bhabha seems so insistent upon de-centralizing. Bhabha uses the theories of the European male elite with so much blind faith that it easily undermines much of what he is trying to accomplish. Jacques Lacan, Michel Foucault, Sigmund Freud and Jacques Derrida are all over this book. These "founders of discourse" (as Foucault called Marx and Freud--and could posthumously call himself given his exhaltation in the academy after his death in 1984) represent an alternate (i.e. "left") critical practice, yet completely dominate Western discussions of theory in literary circles. Is not Bhabha, an Indian scholar, colonized by these minds?
Also, Bhabha's insistence upon in-betweenness at times really seems to undermine his (apparent) intentions. He seems, on the one hand, to claim that it is precisely through in-betweenness that the oppressors dominate the oppressed. Yet, it also seems that this in-betweenness gives the oppressed the opportunity to resist the oppressors. We seem to be back at step zero. Is anything really being said here?
He should have followed better the example of Frantz Fanon, who appears early and often as a primary source in "The Location of Culture." Fanon was surely no stranger to the Western tradition, but was able to write in a critical-poetical-personal style that was accessible to non-academics, a style that had real fire. Bhabha, with all his emphasis on the work of postcolonial theory--which, in his words, seeks to "revise those nationalist or 'nativist' pedagogies that set up the relation of Third World and First World in a binary structure of opposition" (p. 173)--continually relies on the concept of "doubling" (likely a Lacanian theory) as well as his notion of in-betweenness (or liminality, as he calls it) in such a manner that no distinct point of view really emerges. The theoryspeak seems to subsume any important observations he might be willing to make.
While this book has some wonderful moments in it, I would estimate that about 25 of the books 250 pages really says something. I'm worried that this book has been canonized because the mainly white scholars that run the Academy need their theories stated in a dense manner by an Indian man to give them validity. I know that kind of thinking is very conspiratorial, but it is only a concern. I've not read any other Bhabha, or other postcolonial theorists like Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak or Arjun Appadurai, but I cannot recommend this an easy gateway into this material. I would recommend the writings of Fanon, though his writing precedes the moment of postcolonial theory by some three or four decades, as a better introduction.
18 internautes sur 20 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 the complexity of resistance 6 décembre 2007
Par Esu - Publié sur Amazon.com
I enjoy the central insights of The Location of Culture. As the one previous reviewer put it, this idea of in-betweenness is indeed one of Bhabha's central and defining claims. Moreover, the fact that this space of in-between--"located" in the "interstices" of colonial discourse itself, as well as the interstices "between" colonial and anti-colonial discourse--is both oppressive and liberating is one of the beauties of the argument. These various spaces of in-between serve as constant challenges to the attempts of the empowered to render their power and perspective natural, internally consistent and homogeneous. The self-contradictory aspects of this attempt to paper over actual and ever-present hybridity becomes a source of agency. In other words, life is actually always lived in-between but our conceptualization tends to resists this complexity. In-betweenness being both a source of oppression and of power does not leave us "nowhere." Rather, it places us in the conceptual flux that cultural discourses and practices and rituals often seek to hide. Actively inhabiting that conceptual flux rather than actively trying to project onto a disempowered other is indeed a tremendous act of resistance. I find Bhabha's claim to be fascinating and even beautiful.

Of course, I agree that there are ways in which Bhabha could have defined this resistance more efficiently, and I do think he relies on psychoanalytic modes of analysis a little too much. And my biggest problem with his argumenr is that it tends to emphasize the empowered discourse over the practices and subjectivities of the disempowered as they resist. In other words, there is more critique than affirmation, more identification of how this in-betweenness is a consequence of power and not enough explanation of how to inhabit it as a mode of resistance.

Nonetheless, the resistance to "theoryspeak" by which one reviewer objected to this book is often a bigger problem to understanding Bhabha than the 'theoryspeak' itself. I am no fan of such use of language that is sometimes seemingly at the expense of clarity but the problem is neither the language itself nor a non-white person adapting Western theory. After all, if Bhabha is invested in "in-betweenness," and in a strange way he is, then his use of Western theory merely confirms the possibility he sees in breaking down the false "othering" that maintains colonial power. His canonization has as much to do with non-white academics as white ones. More importantly, the idea that an Indian writer has no legitimate access to Western theory becomes part and parcel of the idea that people of color are absolute others from white Europeans. As much as the racists and the ethnic cultural nationalists both want this point to be true, it is not. Finally, what makes Bhabha's work of any value at all--and I think it is quite valuable--is that he grasps and elaborates upon the INSIGHTS of Western theory, not just its vocabulary and legitimacy. Uniting definitions of unconscious desire from Freud and Lacan with theories of how power inhabits language (discourse) from Derrida and Foucault allows for very sophisticated critiques. He takes the implications of Derrida, Foucault, Lacan and others and creatively imagines how imperial cultures operate in a way that provides terms for critique and resistance. While that approach can be alienating, its INSIGHTS, for the most part, compensate for the difficulties of its vocabulary. It is well worth the effort.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great, classic text. 14 septembre 2013
Par Mary J. Newbery - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
A must read for anyone interested in post-colonial theory. Bhaba is the best, and a master at complicating the binaries we have become accustomed to thinking about post-colonial societies in.
44 internautes sur 66 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 I'd rather stick my hand in a blender than read this again 26 mai 2004
Par Shaun M. Overton - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
The fact that this book is influential is generally beyond argument. What astonishes me, however, is that so many people had the endurance to sit through the horrific writing; the author's style is obnoxious in the extreme. The first paragraph, for example, notes that the question of culture is the "trope of our times," characterized by "a tenebrous sense of survival." These concepts are not mind-bending. An everday, or as Homi would say, "colloquial" vocabularly would sufficiently articulate his thesis, yet he seems hellbent on packing his work with obscure language like he needs show off or prove something. Again, his ideas are influential, but he makes reading them as painful as possible.
8 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Even The Little People Are Free 4 juin 2007
Par David Schweizer - Publié sur Amazon.com
Bhabha writes dense, pretentious prose, which is commonplace now among the humanists who feel inferior to scientists, but he does have something to say. This little book does two things: it is in the end a celebration of literature (and not of theory for its own sake) and it defends the little brown people, such as Indians, against the claim of others, such as Edward Said, that whites oppressed them by denying them a voice. Bhabha argues in effect that the oppression created a new voice that subverted the oppressors. Bhabha has little patience for the sob-sister school of academic discourse which seeks out victims of racism. This is a sustained critique of liberal academic bad faith.
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