Sunday, September 16, 2007

Transculturality is found at the individual microlevel too: most of us are cultural hybrids

Transculturality - the puzzling form of cultures today Wolfgang Welsch
Appeared in: California Sociologist, 17 & 18 (1994/1995) pp. 19-39.
The concept of transculturality suggests a new conceptualization of culture differing from classical monocultures and the more recent conceptions of interculturality and multiculturality.
The traditional description of cultures as islands or spheres is descriptively wrong, because cultures today are characterized internally by a pluralization of identities and externally through border-crossing contours. Furthermore, this traditional concept, which emphasizes homogeneity and delineation, is normatively dangerous in structurally suppressing differences and encouraging separatism and violent conflicts. The concepts of interculturality und multiculturalism tackle some of these ills, but their basic flaw remains the presupposition of cultures as homogeneous islands or enclosed spheres.
The concept of transculturality seeks conversely to articulate today's cultural constitution, one characterized by intertwinement, and to elicit the requisite conceptional and normative consequences. Furthermore, transculturality is found at the individual microlevel too: most of us are cultural hybrids. Transculturality aims for cultures with the ability to link and undergo transition whilst avoiding the threat of homogenization or uniformization. Cultural diversity arises in a new mode as a transcultural blend rather than a juxtaposition of clearly delineated cultures.
While it is currently assumed that we are going global and are, by doing this, uniformizing more and more, the concept of transculturality calls this line of thinking into question. The tendency towards transculturality does not mean that our cultural formation is becoming the same all over the world. On the contrary, processes of globalization and becoming transcultural imply a great variety of differentiation. Even if everyone uses the same media, it does not follow that she or he is making the same use of these media. And new media in particular offer considerable opportunities for variation, selection, and specification. Cultural webs woven from the same sources can differ greatly and be quite specific and even individualistic. Therefore, the process we are witnessing is simultaneously a process of unification and differentiation. Document date 29 Oct 2000 Home Curriculum vitae Research areas&Current projects Publication List Online Texts&Publication abstracts Department of Philosophy Contact

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