What You Need to Know About : Hybridity

Hybridity has become a favorite buzzword in academic circles and in popular reflections on processes of globalization—typically presented in the American media as emanating from the United States—on various parts of the world. Celebratory accounts of transcultural fusion as U.S. businesses spread their fares around the globe have come to dominate this popular discourse. While the term’s definition has remained vexingly vague and its meaning varies greatly depending on the context of its use, as generally conceptualized by communication scholars, hybridity relates to processes of racial, linguistic, or cultural mixing that are understood to result in something different from the sum of their discrete parts.

From a historical perspective, the modern notion of hybridity started to take shape in the 18th century, as European imperialist nations had to come to terms with the possible consequences of racial mixing with members of colonized nations. The deep racist anxieties of European colonial powers were manifest in the perception of hybridization as a dangerous process resulting in the contamination of superior (White) races. In this context, racial mixing and its resulting hybridity were to be avoided in order to protect not only the racial purity of colonial powers but also their cultural identity as imperialist aggression spread their influence beyond national borders.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.654

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan