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on 29 January 2004
Anyone who hasn't read this book should be warned that it is not easy reading. There's a lot of vocabulary taken from poststructuralism and critical theory in here, and readers whose familiarity with such work is limited would do well to avoid this book until they've familiarised themselves through easier texts.
That said, this is a very rewarding book which raises important issues. Most political theory and philosophy is all about Europe and North America, and Bhabha is one of the handful who realise that the remaining 3/4s of the world actually exist. I find him quite an open-minded thinker; like all critical theorists, he has his shibboleths and his preferred theoretical vocabularies, but he doesn't let this get in the way of his analysis of specific situations and texts. In addition, this is a hopeful text, insisting on the possibility of change for the better.
The "location of culture" of the title is a location in contingency, perhaps the Lacanian Real or some other such non-place; the basic point is that culture is not a fixed entity and that it can be reconstructed through various discursive manoeuvres such as hybridity (the fusion of two or more cultures) and "sly civility" (the ironic or dishonest maintenance of a cultural facade). Do not expect a structured narrative; each chapter basically stands on its own, and most are actually reproduced articles and essays from elsewhere. Nevertheless, they link together quite well because they all deal with similar issues about culture, oppression and change.
If you can't manage the whole book then at least try out the chapters on stereotyping and on how newness enters the world, which are pure genius - Bhabha at his best.
A word of warning, though - Bhabha at times endorses a heavy Lacanian ontology, only to apparently abandon it again in the next chapter, and to resurrect it again in the one which follows. He doesn't seem to be able to make his mind up whether he endorses the whole Lacanian package or not. This isn't a disaster because it means his approach is open and fluid, but it can make an already difficult text even more difficult. All in all, though, this is well worth a read.
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on 18 January 2017
Bhabha is not for the beginner, very complex language and jargon coming from many different areas of theory which One has to be familiar with before reading this. The book itself is very interesting especially the idea of postcolonial hybridity. Bhabha argues that ‘it is in the emergence of the interstices--the overlap and displacement of domains of difference--that the intersubjective and collective experiences of nationness, community interest, or cultural value are negotiated.’ He stresses that cultural identities cannot be ascribed to pre-given, irreducible, scripted, ahistorical cultural traits that define the conventions of ethnicity. Nor can ‘coloniser’ and ‘colonised’ be viewed as separate entities that define themselves independently. Instead, Bhabha suggests that the negotiation of cultural identity involves the continual interface and exchange of cultural performances that in turn produce a mutual and mutable recognition (or representation) of cultural difference. It is this fluid hybridity that exists and intermingles to form culture. It is an interesting argument no matter whether you agree or disagree.
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on 3 March 2017
I'm satisfied with the product, it is as described.
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on 7 August 2015
As an admirer of Bhabha's work, I received this book for my birthday and was hooked on it. Word of warning to any prospective buyers: it is very dense and sometimes exhausting to read, but ultimately very satisfying. Crucial read for anyone interested in theory as Bhabha is, quite rightly, one of the best postcolonial theorists around.
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on 25 March 2014
Bhabha is worth reading an important contributor to post-colonial, neo-colonials and colonial studies - a great voice and different perspective needed in a western-heavy perspective of otherness and "what is out there!"
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on 17 July 1999
Bhabha raises pertinent and fascinating points, yet I never felt as though he really elaborated on them. I was hoping to see Bhabha's opinions on parallels between the past, present and future. Both the previous reviews brought up relevent points, I felt. I wouldn't totally reject Bhabha's ideas as the first reviewer seemed to, yet the second reviewer was much too eager in his praises. In the future I think it would do Bhabha good to diversify his work.
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on 2 August 1999
This offering from Homi Bhaba is definitely in the running to win the grand prize for the most obstruse, deliberately arcane piece of academic prose in the past decade -- no mean feat. I agree wholeheartedly with the first reviewer, and anxiety-ridden grad students everywhere can take their first baby steps towards intellectual self-confidence and professional emancipation by admitting aloud what they silent know: this emperor is bucknaked and doing cartwheels down the boulevard.
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on 27 August 1999
Let's get one thing straight. Homi Bhabhi is difficult to understand. However, I think everyone else who wrote reviews is wrong. Bhabha is the only post-colonial theorist who has an adequate grasp of historical dynamics in constructing identity, while remaining unafraid to problematize notions of historicity. I don't think the other people who reviewed this book understand that. I liked this book. But I liked his earlier stuff--EG Nation and Narration--a little better.
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on 3 June 1999
I was both suprised and appalled to read the 1st review of this book. Clearly the author is one of the "anxious graduate students" that is referred to. Bhabha's writing is clear and engaging, and his thoughts and ideas fascinating. The depth of knowledge, combined with the profound ideas contained within, make this book one of the finest in its field, and mark Bhabha as one of the leading post-colonial theorists of his era and others too.
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on 8 April 1999
Bhabha masks his interesting, if somewhat simple thoughts in an arcane poststructuralist discourse in order to hide their relative triviality. He is a very minor thinker who garners attention only because he has managed to be at the right place and at the right time to appeal to anxious graduate students desparate to have their thoughts validated by an apparently "difficult" authority. Strictly for the phonies.
But the acknowledgements to this book must be seen to be believed. A more toadying series of comments has never been committed to paper--although I suppose Bhabha, if pressed, would hurriedly excuse their bootlicking tone as an ironic postcolonial strategy, hm? How convenient.
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