Multicultural transruption

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Multicultural transruptions are cultural differences that continue to resurface despite multiple efforts of the dominant group to acculturate minority cultures. Their mere presence challenges the hegemonic practices within mainstream national identity and creates an alternative discourse according to Barnor Hesse.[1] Traditional notions of the definition of national identity and the cultures that are implied in this definition often deny or fail to incorporate minority cultures and ethnicities. Transruptions challenge the aspects of multiculturalism that tend to try and merge cultural differences into a single national identity. Transruptions are the result of such practices, which obscure the definition of national identity, bringing to light “the fact that racism [can be] an inherent quality of the national identity”.[2] Transruptions are the response to dominant culture’s view of other cultures as inferior. Transruptions are “troubling and unsettling” to the national identity “because any acknowledgment of their incidence or significance within a discourse threatens the coherence or validity of that discourse”.[3] Thus, national identity may begin to be reexamined with an awareness of the hegemonic practices it contains.

Multiculturalism Versus Multicultural[edit]

In order to understand multicultural transruptions, the distinction between multicultural and multiculturalism must be made. Multiculturalism is a political system of discourse characterized by the incorporation of differences and diverse ethnicities into one singular and absolute national identity.[4] It has been discussed by Stuart Hall as a way to “manage diversity".[5] However, just as there is no one “correct” form of management, there is no one specific theory or view of multiculturalism. Some different forms of multiculturalism have been described as “conservative,” “liberal,” and “pluralist”.[6] Each of these stems from a distinct political perspective and view of different cultures as having a positive or negative impact on society. Mainstream multiculturalism acknowledges the different cultures present yet attempts to merge them into a singular nationality that does not engage with cultural differences but erases them.[7] The term multicultural on the other hand, refers to the actual cultural differences or “social characteristics of any culturally heterogeneous society”.[8] Because multicultural refers to cultural differences, it automatically becomes associated with multiculturalism. The presence of cultural differences challenges multiculturalism’s attempts at managing diversity. Thus, in this sense, one can understand multicultural transruptions as challenges to multiculturalism’ s single national form through multicultural discrepancies.

Examples[edit]

Ecuador[edit]

Jean Muteba Rahier argues that the performance of the Ecuadorian national football team, which was made up of mostly Afro-Ecuadorian players, at the 2006 FIFA world cup was transruptive to the national race discourse. Ecuador’s popular national mestizaje identity, a form of multiculturalism that seeks to incorporate all races into one national identity, was challenged by the obvious presence of these black players as they became prominent representational figures of the nation through their athletic success. Afro-Ecuadorians, usually a marginalized and sometimes invisible component of Ecuadorian identity, were suddenly at the forefront of national consciousness. It “shook, for a little while, the Ecuadorian racial order and the foundation of conventional understandings of national identity and their attendant construction of Ecuadorian blacks as ultimate Others”.[9] Though their athletic success did not ultimately change race relations in the country, it did bring the discourse of race, racism, and the construction of the Ecuadorian national identity to light, something usually obscured by popular notions of mestizaje identity.[10]

Ireland[edit]

The Chinese Welfare Association, Belfast

As discussed in Suzanna Chan’s article, the Belfast-based Chinese Welfare Association decided to create two specific spaces for the Chinese diaspora. One was housing for the Chinese elderly and the other was a community and resource centre. The centre’s proposed location in the Protestant majority area of Donegall Pass was contested by many who felt that the centre would create more segregation within the community and hurt the local community centre’s use, among other things.[11] One grave concern was that it would further shift the local identity from a Protestant ‘God’s little acre’ to ‘Belfast Chinatown’.[12] Though the centre was eventually built in a different location, the discourse created through the proposal presented a multicultural transruption since it constituted a pursuit for an ‘ethnic space,’ challenging the Anglo concept of “neutral space”.[13] The project transrupted the hegemonic concepts of local Protestant identity as well as national Protestant and Catholic identity by bringing to the forefront Chinese claims for a legitimate and socially acknowledged cultural space.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hesse, Barnor. Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, 'Transruptions' London; New York: Zed, 2000. Print.
  2. ^ Hesse, Barnor. Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, 'Transruptions' London; New York: Zed, 2000. Print.
  3. ^ Hesse, Barnor. Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, 'Transruptions' London; New York: Zed, 2000. Print.
  4. ^ Rahier, Jean Muteba. "Race, Fútbol, and the Ecuadorian Nation: the Ideological Biology of (Non-)Citizenship." Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 2009,2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2010. <http://hemi.nyu.edu/hemi/en/e-misferica-52/rahier>.
  5. ^ Chan, Suzanna. "'God's Little Acre' and 'Belfast Chinatown': Cultural Politics and Agencies of Anti-Racist Spatial Inscription." Translocations 1.1 (2006): 56-75.
  6. ^ Hesse, Barnor. Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, 'Transruptions' London; New York: Zed, 2000. Print.
  7. ^ Hesse, Barnor. Un/Settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, 'Transruptions' London; New York: Zed, 2000. Print.
  8. ^ Chan, Suzanna. "'God's Little Acre' and 'Belfast Chinatown': Cultural Politics and Agencies of Anti-Racist Spatial Inscription." Translocations 1.1 (2006): 56-75. Print.
  9. ^ Rahier, Jean Muteba. "Race, Fútbol, and the Ecuadorian Nation: the Ideological Biology of (Non-)Citizenship." Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 2009,2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2010. <http://hemi.nyu.edu/hemi/en/e-misferica-52/rahier>.
  10. ^ Rahier, Jean Muteba. "Race, Fútbol, and the Ecuadorian Nation: the Ideological Biology of (Non-)Citizenship." Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics. Hemispheric Institute of Performance and Politics, 2009,2010. Web. 18 Apr. 2010. <http://hemi.nyu.edu/hemi/en/e-misferica-52/rahier>.
  11. ^ Chan, Suzanna. "'God's Little Acre' and 'Belfast Chinatown': Cultural Politics and Agencies of Anti-Racist Spatial Inscription." Translocations 1.1 (2006): 56-75. Print.
  12. ^ Chan, Suzanna. "'God's Little Acre' and 'Belfast Chinatown': Cultural Politics and Agencies of Anti-Racist Spatial Inscription." Translocations 1.1 (2006): 56-75. Print.
  13. ^ Chan, Suzanna. "'God's Little Acre' and 'Belfast Chinatown': Cultural Politics and Agencies of Anti-Racist Spatial Inscription." Translocations 1.1 (2006): 56-75. Print.