6. Syncretism, double consciousness & hybridisation: mechanisms for understanding cross-cultural identities.
“Ain’t No Black In The Union Jack” — A proposal for a new flag for the UK and other socially engaged art work by Gil Mualem-Doronlink here
According to Said , ‘Imperialism did not end, did not suddenly become ‘past’ . . . A legacy of connections still binds countries . . . a vast new population . . . from former colonial territories now resides in metropolitan Europe’ (1993:341).
Indeed, in 1982, Noam Chomsky indicated that ‘new forms of domination will have to be devised to ensure that privileged segments of Western industrial society maintain substantial control over global resources, human and material, and benefit disproportionately from this control.’ (cited Said, 1993:343). But as we have already seen, culture is both accepting and subverting, reactionary and radical. It is also an evolutionary and organic means of expression and understanding that develops out of specific historical moments of interaction.
Paul Gilroy‘s theme of Double Consciousness involves Black Atlantic striving to be both European and Black through their relationship to the land of their birth and their ethnic political constituency being absolutely transformed wiki link here
As Barry notes the stress on ‘cross-cultural’ interactions is a indeed a characteristic of postcolonial criticism. Often found by foregrounding questions of cultural difference and diversity, as well as by celebrating ‘hybridity’, ‘ambiguity’ and ‘cultural polyvalency’. A unique position where ‘individuals may simultaneously belong to more than one culture – the coloniser and the colonised’. (2016:198) Even Fanon suggests an emphasis on identity as ‘doubled, or ‘hybrid’, or ‘unstable’.
Ghost Town by The Specials conveys a specific moment in British social and political history while retaining a contemporary relevance. The cultural critic Dorian Lynskey has described it as ‘’a remarkable pop cultural moment’’ one that “defined an era’’. The video and song are part of a tradition of protest in popular music, in this case reflecting concern about the increased social tensions in the UK at the beginning of the 1980s. The song was number 1 in the UK charts, post-Brixton and during the Handsworth and Toxteth riots.
The aesthetic of the music video, along with the lyrics, represents an unease about the state of the nation, one which is often linked to the politics of Thatcherism but transcends a specific political ideology in its eeriness, meaning that it has remained politically and culturally resonant.
The representations in the music video are racially diverse. This reflects its musical genre of ska, a style which could be read politically in the context of a racially divided country. This representation of Britain’s emerging multiculturalism, is reinforced through the eclectic mix of stylistic influences in both the music and the video.
- Q1: Where can you identify ‘hybridity’, ‘ambiguity’ and ‘cultural polyvalency’ in this music video?
- Q2: How does this text apply to Fanon’s 3 phase plan of action?
- Q3: How is the audience called / addressed / hailed (interpellation)? Use examples from both the lyrics and the visual grammar (shot, edit, mise-en-scene) to show how audiences are drawn into a specific subject position / ideological framework?
Define these terms
- POST COLONIALISM
- DOUBLE CONSCIOUSNESS (GILROY)
- CULTURAL ABSOLUTISM / RACIAL ESSENTIALISM
- CULTURAL SYNCRETISM
- ORIENTALISM (SAID)
- CULTURAL HEGEMONY
- THE PUBLIC SPHERE (HABERMAS)
- THE ROLE OF PUBLIC SERVICE BROADCASTING IN TERMS OF FAIR REPRESENTATION OF MINORITY GROUPS / INTERESTS