An Exploration of Cultural Hybridity



This theoretical study involved an interdisciplinary exploration of the increasingly prevalent experience of multiple cultural affiliation, termed cultural hybridity (Bhabha, 1994), with the explicit rationale of addressing the relevant gap in the psychological literature.

Cultural hybrid phenomenology was explored, and its connection to related concepts including third culture kids, global nomads, transculturals, cosmopolitans , and people of "mixed race" was examined.

The challenge this population poses for traditional identity constructs such as "nationality," "ethnicity," and "race" was emphasized.

Drawing from the life-stories and reflections of four prominent cultural hybrid writers as well as from relevant interdisciplinary research findings, five common themes of cultural hybrid experience emerged: cultural marginality, hidden diversity, fluidity of identity, multidimensional worldview, and non-traditional ways of belonging. Existing conceptualizations of cultural hybridity were presented, and creative marginality , a concept informed by an integration of these conceptualizations with notions of the creative self in the psychoanalytic theories of Winnicott, Klein and Bollas, is introduced.

Within the stance of creative marginality, it is suggested that the cultural hybrid's sense of belonging is not to any one cultural group or entity, but to a creative, open, and flexible "way of being in the in-between" reminiscent of Winnicott's concept of play .

The presence of a facilitating environment that refrains from a coercive, "either/or" worldview, and is able to see, be curious about, and reflect back all of who the cultural hybrid is and wants to be is proposed to be of critical significance to the ability to develop and sustain creative marginality.

Implications of a comprehensive understanding of the cultural hybrid phenomenon for the field of psychology, including clinical practice, "diversity" training, and future research, are presented.

The study concludes with a discussion of the wider significance of cultural hybridity.

Dissertation Done By Caroline Distell






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