In my paper, I suggest that we sharpen our attention towards the complexities of the work of power in transgressions as well as in constructions of essentialist identities. Criticising essentialism is vital for fighting group-based exclusionism. However, criticising essentialism and celebrating hybridity do not always work to the advance of the excluded. Neither essentialism, nor anti-essentialism has self-evident affiliations with specific political projects. We need to move beyond the limitations of both identity politics and the critique of essentialism without loosing sight of the commitment to social and cultural critique. Through a critical discussion of the concept of hybridity, I argue that rather than expecting to find definite emancipating or suppressing capacities connected to constructions of the ‘hybrid' and the ‘pure', we should focus on how these two poles are invested with meaning and related to power. Hence, while insisting on Cultural Studies' commitment to social and cultural critique, I argue that this critique would benefit from an analytical sensitivity towards the uses and abuses of the discursive power to designate meaningful and legitimate subject positions, rather than assuming that certain social forms carry a critical, emancipating or suppressing potential per se.
Cultural Studies Now: Conference Journal, 2007
culturel identitet; hybriditet; culturel kritik; cultural identity; hybridity; cultural critique