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The Location of Culture (Routledge Classics) [Kindle Edition]

Homi K. Bhabha
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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  • Print ISBN-10: 0415336392
  • Print ISBN-13: 978-0415336390
  • Edition: 2


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Book Description

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 practical political change, Bhabha has become one of the leading post-colonial theorists of this era.

Editorial Reviews


'Bhabha is that rare thing, a reader of enormous subtlety and wit, a theorist of uncommon power. His work is a landmark in the exchange between ages, genres and cultures; the colonial, post-colonial, modernist and postmodern.' – Edward Said

About the Author

Homi K Bhabha (1949- ) Born into the Parsi community of Bombay, Bhabha is a leading voice in postcolonial studies. He is currently Professor of English and Afro-American Studies, Harvard University

Product Details

  • File Size: 664 KB
  • Print Length: 440 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Up to 4 simultaneous devices, per publisher limits
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (October 12, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009W3J8EU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #186,508 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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189 of 207 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Even though this is one of the most highly regarded ... January 10, 2003
...theory books of the 1990s, its fame and reputation seem overblown. None of the other reviews posted here have really stated what Bhabha tries to accomplish in "The Location of Culture," so I'll give it a crack, even though I'm no expert on postcolonial theory.
To save you all some time, many of Bhabha's key points are made in the first two pages of his book. For instance: "In-between spaces provide the terrain for elaborating strategies of selfhood--singular or communal--that initiate new signs of identity, and innovative sites of collaboration, and contestation, in the act of defining the idea of society" (p. 1-2). Elsewhere, in-betweenness is easily the key concept in the book, as well as the notion of HYBRIDITY. The reason the modernist model of Colonialism is doomed to fail is not only because it needs the Other (the colonized) to validate its own supremacy (and to fulfill its desires), but also because it engages in what Bhabha refers to as "contra-modernity": modernity in "colonial conditions where its imposition is itself the denial of historical freedom, civic autonomy and the 'ethical' choice of refashioning" (p. 241). Bhabha finds that by examining the borderlines between Colonial power and Colonial oppression, a truer history of global populations can be obtained. In one of the finer passages in the book, Bhabha examines a scene from Salman Rushdie's controversial 1988 novel "The Satanic Verses" and descibes how the postcolonial body--shaped by an outside nationalist culture--is representative of the colonizer, yet the colonizers "can never let the national history look at itself narcissistically in the eye" (p. 168).
Now let me preface my explanation by saying this is what I THINK Bhabha is getting at.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars the complexity of resistance December 6, 2007
By Esu
I enjoy the central insights of The Location of Culture. As the one previous reviewer put it, this idea of in-betweenness is indeed one of Bhabha's central and defining claims. Moreover, the fact that this space of in-between--"located" in the "interstices" of colonial discourse itself, as well as the interstices "between" colonial and anti-colonial discourse--is both oppressive and liberating is one of the beauties of the argument. These various spaces of in-between serve as constant challenges to the attempts of the empowered to render their power and perspective natural, internally consistent and homogeneous. The self-contradictory aspects of this attempt to paper over actual and ever-present hybridity becomes a source of agency. In other words, life is actually always lived in-between but our conceptualization tends to resists this complexity. In-betweenness being both a source of oppression and of power does not leave us "nowhere." Rather, it places us in the conceptual flux that cultural discourses and practices and rituals often seek to hide. Actively inhabiting that conceptual flux rather than actively trying to project onto a disempowered other is indeed a tremendous act of resistance. I find Bhabha's claim to be fascinating and even beautiful.

Of course, I agree that there are ways in which Bhabha could have defined this resistance more efficiently, and I do think he relies on psychoanalytic modes of analysis a little too much. And my biggest problem with his argumenr is that it tends to emphasize the empowered discourse over the practices and subjectivities of the disempowered as they resist.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars July 10, 2014
Never understood a word, but impressive nonetheless.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars June 29, 2014
By Pearl
Brand-new copy packed with care by Kevin. Thank you Kevin! :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great, classic text. September 14, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A must read for anyone interested in post-colonial theory. Bhaba is the best, and a master at complicating the binaries we have become accustomed to thinking about post-colonial societies in.
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39 of 60 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
The fact that this book is influential is generally beyond argument. What astonishes me, however, is that so many people had the endurance to sit through the horrific writing; the author's style is obnoxious in the extreme. The first paragraph, for example, notes that the question of culture is the "trope of our times," characterized by "a tenebrous sense of survival." These concepts are not mind-bending. An everday, or as Homi would say, "colloquial" vocabularly would sufficiently articulate his thesis, yet he seems hellbent on packing his work with obscure language like he needs show off or prove something. Again, his ideas are influential, but he makes reading them as painful as possible.
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27 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Obscure but ultimately an eye(and text) opening theory January 23, 2002
Bhabha is writing about a terrain which is perhaps best understood when being applied to a specific text. The theory all by itself sounds fascinating but obscure, when you see Bhabhas theory in practice, however,it makes all kinds of sense and yields extremely nuanced readings of texts you may have thought you knew very well.
In Writing India(published 1996) Bart Moore-Gilbert uses Bhabha's theory to great effect in his analysis of Kipling.
Also Bart Moore-Gilbert gives an excellent and concise summary of Bhabhas work as well as excellent summaries of Said and Spivak(as well as detailed analysis of criticisms of their work) in Postcolonial Theory Contexts Practices(published 1997). All in crystal clear prose.
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