Title

“Border-Building: Cultural Turf and the Maintenance of Hybridity

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2004

Publication Title

M/C Journal

Keywords

Border, border crossing, cultures, hybridity

ISSN

1441-2616

Volume

7

Issue/No.

2

Abstract

Borders seem to be dropping all around us. Interdisciplinary university curricula, international free trade, wireless broadband technologies—these and many other phenomena suggest a steady decline in the rigidity and quantity of borders delimiting social interactions. In response to this apparent loss of borders, critical scholars might point out that university hiring practices remain discipline-bound, international tariffs are widespread, and technological access is uneven. But even as this critical response points out the limited extent of border-loss, it still affirms the weakening of these borders. Since the 9/11 tragedy, the world has witnessed much fortification of national and cultural borders through essentializing discourses (epitomized by America’s “us versus them” response to terror). But can critical scholars, as affirmative as they are of the dissolution and the crossing of borders, also support the building of exclusionary national and cultural borders? More importantly, can this reasoning responsibly emerge from a postmodern or postcolonial perspective that both favors marginalized voices and recognizes the routinely violent excesses of nationalism? By considering the practice of hybridity within the context of international capitalism, I will argue that maintaining the “conditions of possibility” for hybridity, and thus, maintaining the possibility of resistance to essentializing discourses, requires the strategic reinforcement of national and cultural borders.

DOI

10.5204/mcj.2332

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