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

3.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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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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Product Details

  • Series: Routledge Classics
  • Paperback: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Routledge; 2 edition (September 29, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0415336392
  • ISBN-13: 978-0415336390
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #180,410 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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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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By A Customer on August 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
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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I, too, must take issue with the first review. This book has influenced all major scholarship in post-colonial theory since it was published, so I don't think it qualifies as trivial. Bhaba has many original suggestions about articulating, reading, and understanding the decolonized subject, and his ideas about the uses of time in narrative are fascinating. While it is true that the prose is difficult, it invites a second, third, and fourth reading. I did not understand it completely the first time I read it, but found the ideas compelling enough to return. My experience with this book has been extremely rewarding and productive. Others will find the same rewards if they are willing to spend the time. The book is not a sound byte. It is a long and poetic journey to the other side of the world and back.
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