(Not) sharing culture(s)

narrating 'us' and the 'others' within (and around) 'our' culture

Boris Škvorc

Research output: Contribution to journalConference paper

Abstract

Since the introduction of the concept of imagined communities in the sense of artificial entities representing a ‘deep, horizontal comradeship’ (Benedict Anderson, 1991), the concept of shared culture within limited and finite boundaries is regarded to have been a dominant cultural force in the nineteenth as well as the first half of the twentieth century. This situation of cultural separation and the forceful imposition of one’s own upon another or other culture(s) was dominant practice until the deconstruction of the concept of identity took place (Satya P. Mohanty, 2000), which is now understood as re/constructed rather than naturally ‘given’. In the development of this concept the new awareness of the hybrid character of culture(s) in various cultural studies projects is of special importance. Despite the insight that ‘even in modernism every culture was to the certain degree also a hybrid concept’ (owing the various influences coming from without as well as from the popular culture), the real awareness of hybridization emerged not earlier than with the postcolonial theory (Said, 1978 and Bhabha, 1994) which analyzed the penetration of –others – into the body of the stable cultural concept(s). In view of the above, in this work I will analyze the hybrid character of Croatian culture starting from the construction of (Romantic) stereotypes up to their various re/constructions during the twentieth century. The multicultural types of Croatian Diaspora (in Canada and Australia) and their identity construction will be given a special consideration. I will argue that at least three types of deconstruction and reconstruction of ‘national narratives’ take place in this transnational space, as well as within the country of origin. This occurs at the level wherein the penetration of ‘others’ into the ‘genuine’ space of a national corpus is noted, but also in the environment in which the ‘others’ build their identity within the corpus of another dominant culture. This entails that, on the one hand, a horizontal deconstruction of the ‘united space’ is going on, which produces a number of ‘others’ within the image of ‘our culture’. On the other hand, however, the vertical penetration of constructed ‘eternal’ narratives is stereotyped differently in different spaces, depending on the opposition between ‘homeland’ and ‘diasporic’ positioning, as well as on the type of history re/constructed. And, finally, the existence of ‘others’ within both realms – the Diaspora as well as the country of origin – produces the fictionalization of media as well as an imaginary realm of voluntary isolation in a part of imagined community that resists hybridization.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
JournalTrans : internet journal of cultural studies
Volume17
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventKCTOS : Knowledge, Creativity and Transformations of Societies - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 6 Dec 20079 Dec 2007

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Keywords

  • post-colonial
  • multicultural
  • cannon
  • literature
  • reading
  • culture

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