Edited By Flocel Sabaté
The Lineage of Hybrid Identity
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The roots of the idea of hybrid identity can be found in humanity’s continuing fascination with its own nature. Hybridity though relates very specifically to the connection between culture and identity. This latter linkage has, comparatively, a much shorter history. The heritage of this latter connection dates approximately from the late eighteenth century in European thinking. This is particularly the case via the speculations on language in writers such as Jean Jacques Rousseau, J.G. Fichte, Johann Peter Süssmilch and Gottfried Herder. These writers, amongst others, identified language with culture. Language was seen as integral to the conscious activity and development of all human beings. Language, particularly for writers such as Herder, did not just record or designate external objects, but conversely had a constitutive role. Humans both make and were made within language. Humans perceived nature through the expressive medium of speech.1 Language, as developed human speech, was also viewed as the essential medium of human freedom, reflecting the totality of human energies. The human capacity for self-awareness was thus seen to be formed in language.
Further, for Herder, language was built out of sense impressions. Sense impressions of one’s locality formed the basis of language itself. It followed that local conditions – geography, climate and traditions of a community – generated differing linguistic responses. As languages developed in different settings, so also did different cultures. Yet each language formed the essential historical continuity of a community. In Herder the ← 29...
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