Essentialism, hybridism and cultural critique

Publikation: Bidrag til bog/antologi/rapportKonferenceabstrakt i proceedingsForskning


In my paper, I suggest that we sharpen our attention towards the complexities of the work of power in transgressions as well as in constructions of essentialist identities. Criticising essentialism is vital for fighting group-based exclusionism. However, criticising essentialism and celebrating hybridity do not always work to the advance of the excluded. Neither essentialism, nor anti-essentialism has self-evident affiliations with specific political projects. We need to move beyond the limitations of both identity politics and the critique of essentialism without loosing sight of the commitment to social and cultural critique. Through a critical discussion of the concept of hybridity, I argue that rather than expecting to find definite emancipating or suppressing capacities connected to constructions of the ‘hybrid' and the ‘pure', we should focus on how these two poles are invested with meaning and related to power. Hence, while insisting on Cultural Studies' commitment to social and cultural critique, I argue that this critique would benefit from an analytical sensitivity towards the uses and abuses of the discursive power to designate meaningful and legitimate subject positions, rather than assuming that certain social forms carry a critical, emancipating or suppressing potential per se.
TitelCultural Studies Now : Conference Journal
Antal sider1
ForlagUniversity of East London
StatusUdgivet - 2007
BegivenhedCultural Studies Now - London, Storbritannien
Varighed: 19 jul. 200722 jul. 2007


KonferenceCultural Studies Now


  • culturel identitet
  • hybriditet
  • culturel kritik

Citer dette