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The Location of Culture

3.88  ·  Rating details ·  2,001 ratings  ·  75 reviews
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 am ...more
Paperback, 440 pages
Published October 1st 2004 by Routledge (first published 1994)
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Ankur Singh It is upto you to perceive the way you want to judge an academic writing which requires a writer to be located in a sphere where his awareness of the…moreIt is upto you to perceive the way you want to judge an academic writing which requires a writer to be located in a sphere where his awareness of the other essayists and critiques needs to be displayed through their reference in their writing,whether repetitively or not.
Bhabha incorporates that essence.Try not to take it up the next time, I too prefer others over him for the same reason.(less)

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Meg
This book recommended for...

1. People who like pain.
2. People who like elitist, dense, scholarship that arrogantly references a huge array of critical theory without attempting to show where any of this is coming from or what it really means, and then tries to pass itself off as politically efficacious.
3. Graduate students and academics in cultural studies or postcolonial theory.

This makes me wonder... are those in the third category just really those who fit
...more
Andrew
Homi Bhabha seems to collect thinkers together, and take fragments of them and try to glue them together, but he does a really bad job of it. His typical adhesive is Lacanian nincompoopery (holy shit, spellcheck accepted that)(but not "Lacanian"), so I'm probably not the best interpreter. He's borderline unreadable, but then he has these moments of utter clarity and charm when riffing on Salman Rushdie or Roland Barthes, and you realize he has a lot of talent. Which makes me think he's probably ...more
Scott Smith
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is certainly an important book. Bhabha is one of the "Holy Trinity" of postcolonial theorists, along with Edward Said and Giyatri Spivak. He is known for being fairly difficult to read (he is a big fan of Lacan) but once you sort of get used to his style and his general thought process he becomes accessible. Spivak is still way harder to approach then Bhabha.
Anyway, his main thesis deals with the place of colonized subject somewhere in between the stereotypes of savagery and naivete that t
...more
Matías Zitterkopf
Aug 04, 2014 rated it liked it
If you want to torture someone or yourself, go ahead and read this book. I've read some chapters for my thesis, I found some definitions I needed but it's a very complex kind of reading.

Homi takes a simple idea or concepts and goes on forever trying to explain it, repeating and saying in each paragraph what he made "clear" in the first line.
Phillip
It's hard to deny that Homi Bhabha changed the entire discourse surrounding postcolonial studies, but he's also one of those figures--like Foucault, Judith Butler, Marx, or Freud--whose central ideas have become so important and so widely discussed that they are now almost taken as a baseline for discussion in literary and cultural criticism. For my money, Bhabha's two best essays in this collection are "Of Mimicry and Man" and "Signs Taken for Wonders," which develop his theories of cultural hy ...more
Catherine
Unforgivably, unnecessarily obtuse. Infuriatingly impenetrable. Rubbish.
Melusine Parry
The ideas are fascinating, but the style is awful, terrifyingly jargonny and sometimes impenetrable. You have to read critical studies of the book to understand all of it.
Malcolm
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 gener ...more
Erdem Tasdelen
Aug 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
Interesting progression in this book. Maybe it's because I don't have a firm grasp of the specifics of these histories of colonialism that I find it easier to relate to his analysis of the last century and the effect of modernity/postmodernity on postcolonial subjectivity. Bhabha's writing has much more clarity in the later chapters where he starts utilizing the terms he lays out in the previous ones, and adds a few that are more cohesive. I enjoyed how he methodically sculpts a postcolonial sub ...more
Chon Mkliiry
Dec 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
A wonderful book on the future challenges faced by the advent of post-colonialism and postmodernism. His observations on "the third space" certainly resonates with me as a multicultural, multiracial individual. He sees human development as always "media res" and refrains from binary classifications such as past and present or this culture/that culture. His argument, which compliments Deleuze and Guattari's "rhizome", is very compelling. A great book, but by no means a quick read.
Karl
Nov 12, 2012 added it
Shelves: partially-read
This book is the epitome of how critical theory creates its own dualism between elite theoretical discourse and other, more digestible, ways of writing. Bhabha's concepts, while worthwhile, remain buried in sentences that appear to be consciously overwritten and almost unintelligible. This is almost impossible to compare to other theorists. I would recommend Said, but never this.
Bridgett
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is an awesome book for those interested in postcolonial theory.
scott noble
Jan 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
awesome post-colonial theory
Joy
Feb 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
Not readeable, even to those familiar with the terminology associated with post-structuralism and post-colonialism. Further, the content is repetitive. I didn't like this book at all.
Gacoca
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is very amazing.
Mojidi
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is definitely wonderful.
Yakut Melikzadeh Akbay
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Professor Bhabha's views are predominantly post-colonial created on the basis of deconstruction and post-structuralism. In this respect, the concepts of mimicry and hybridity which are central to the colonial discourse are presented from a different, more innovative perspective by Professor Bhabha. They are slippery in the sense that they do not suggest stability, rather, they produce ambivalence challenging the narrative of Eurocentrism. Besides, as Professor himself admits, there is no sublati ...more
Humphrey
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
The cultural penetration of Bhabha's thought, somewhat fitting, testifies the argument of the first essay of this volume: theory's ability to fundamentally reshape the conditions of discussion. It also, of course, testifies to the fact that it's smart, and stuff. That doesn't mean that the first essay is necessarily the best place to begin, though; while Bhabha's prose (in this volume at least) is not as difficult as it is sometimes accused of being, starting with one of the shorter and earlier ...more
Irene Wang
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
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 pr ...more
Alessandra
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
It took me so long to read this one, which I need for my dissertation. I do love Bhabha's approach to postcolonial theory but his writing is definitely a bit too much. Anyway, this is really a comprehensive collection of essays on the topics of cultural identity, hybridity, the representation of migrants in literature, ... If you are interested in any of this or in postcolonial studies, then this is a must read.
Megan Olsen
Aug 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Bhabha's essay, "Of Mimicry and Man: The Ambivalence of Colonial Discourse" is one of the best pieces I've read on mimesis and imperialism. The idea that the more our charitable projects look and act like us, the more we yearn for clear boundaries and exposition of their "otherness" is something that colors my thinking about history, ethics, cultural relationships, religion, and even science and science fiction--"uncanny valley", anyone?

Loved this essay.
Mikel
A brief review: while some of Bhabha's ideas are rightfully praised, the obtuseness of his writing is inexcusable. Clear writing does not suggest a watering down (or dumbing down) of the content; it recognizes the importance of communication in the history of ideas. Somebody should write an "annotated" edition of The Location of Culture. But I managed to get to the end! \o/
C. McGee
Oct 02, 2016 rated it did not like it
One of academia's best snake oil salesman. Bhabha says nothing, but he says nothing in an intimidatingly dense and jargon-laden fashion, so that the reader is too scared to call bullshit. No one in academia ever wants to be told that, "they don't get it," so barely anyone calls Bhabha out. What a joke.
Roos
May 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I did not even grasp the introduction of this book when I first tried to read it. I tried again once I'd gotten more into researching cultural "in-betweenness" and was pleasantly surprised. I found that even the introduction said so much I was trying to say - but more elaborately & eloquently, of course. Looking forward to reading all of this one day.
Arda
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Notes from thesis:
Identity could not possibly be fixed or transfixed upon spatial differences alone, for there are cultural dynamics that come into play.
Identity, as Bhabha (1994) points out, is not authentically east or west, but rather it is both, and neither.
Emily
Nov 07, 2012 rated it did not like it
I'm too dumb to understand all the isms and iations and other complex-ass nouns Bhabha uses in the creation of the post-colonial studies vocabulary.
Jere
Feb 19, 2018 rated it it was ok
Contains some nuggets of wisdom. But his language requires some deciphering.
Sometimes too theoretical.
LaToya James
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Compared to Spivak, I actually found him easy to read! Anyone interested in postcolonial identity or ethnic literature inside the United States should read this book.
Katrina
Oct 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Only gave this 3 stars in grad school, but bumping it up to 4 stars today. It's a challenging read, but his conception of hybridity and third space are very useful.
Isadora Wagner
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: theory
Worth reading for Bhabha's Heideggerian deconstruction of the airport alone.
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Homi K. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center, at Harvard University. He is one of the most important figures in contemporary post-colonial studies, and has coined a number of the field's neologisms and key concepts, such as hybridity, mimicry, difference, ambivalence. Such terms describe ways in which ...more
“The theoretical recognition of the split-space of enunciation may open the way to conceptualising an international culture, based not on the exoticism of multiculturalism or the diversity of cultures, but on the inscription and articulation of culture's hybridity. It is the inbetween space that carries the burden of the meaning of culture, and by exploring this Third Space, we may elude the politics of polarity and emerge as the others of our selves.” 25 likes
“A statement on the political responsibility of the critic: the critic must attempt to fully realize, and take responsibility for, the unspoken, unrepresented pasts that haunt the historical present.” 3 likes
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