Malcolm's Reviews > The Location of Culture

The Location of Culture by Homi K. Bhabha
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's review
Jul 23, 2011

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bookshelves: post-colonialism, cultural-studies

Brilliant, demanding, challenging, insightful, and in places just plain wrong this remains one of the most important texts in post-structural postcolonial studies. It is an absolute must read in that there is a basic defining of the field in this collection of papers published elsewhere and gathered here. It contains two of the fundamental texts of the approach – 'Of Mimicry and Man' and 'Sly Civility' – that merit repeated re-reading and re-evaluation. My problem with it is part of a more general problem with post-structural analyses – they tend away from questions of political economy (paradoxical given in this case a focus on colonial and post-colonial relations) and towards idealist analyses. Its strength is that for Bhabha, hybridity is a basic condition of life so he takes us in inspiring ways beyond culture as essential to ask challenging questions about nations, identities, ways of seeing and being in the world, and cultural politics in difficult times (where the politics of struggle as confrontation is likely to lead to defeat). I don't accept a lot of his answers – but they make me work hard to clarify my own.
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