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The Location of Culture (Routledge Classics) Paperback – September 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Classics
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (September 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415336392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415336390
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #129,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

'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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

193 of 212 people found the following review helpful By matthewslaughter on January 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
...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 By Esu on December 6, 2007
Format: Paperback
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mary J. Newbery on 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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By Katherine Apted on July 10, 2014
Format: Paperback
Never understood a word, but impressive nonetheless.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Schweizer VINE VOICE on June 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
Bhabha writes dense, pretentious prose, which is commonplace now among the humanists who feel inferior to scientists, but he does have something to say. This little book does two things: it is in the end a celebration of literature (and not of theory for its own sake) and it defends the little brown people, such as Indians, against the claim of others, such as Edward Said, that whites oppressed them by denying them a voice. Bhabha argues in effect that the oppression created a new voice that subverted the oppressors. Bhabha has little patience for the sob-sister school of academic discourse which seeks out victims of racism. This is a sustained critique of liberal academic bad faith.
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27 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on January 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
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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