Homi Bhabha’s Concept of Hybridity

In a scenario where Derridean poststructuralism deconstructed the notion of the centre and Lyotardian Postmodern Condition undermined metanarratives (such as purity, nation etc.), postcolonialism, with the blurring of boundaries and profusion of transnational migrations, inevitably led to a celebration of multiculturalism and plurality. The resulting situation, which Homi K Bhabha calls hybridity, refers to the state of being at the border of two cultures, marked by a sense of “double consciousness” and “in-betweenness” in the migrant, giving way to luminatity of identity. Hybridity therefore is a subversion of single, unified, purist notions of identity, in favour of multiple cultural positions. It is also an answer to the dangers of cultural binarisms of ‘us/them’ and the fundamentalist urge for purist cultural forms.

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Homi K Bhabha

Subsequent to cosmopolitanism and globalisation, Bhabha observes that the hybrid migrant occupies a “third space”, where the colonial as well as the native identities meet and contest and are simultaneously asserted and subverted. Narratives of such “third spaces”-where rootlessness and  migrancy are valourised and celebrated, and the myth of purity and homeland are undermined as “occupying imaginary spaces”- are exemplified in the works of diasporic writers like Salman Rushdie , Hanif Kureishi, Jhumpa Lahiri, Michael Ondaatje and others.

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