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Transcultural Identity Constructions in a Changing World

Irene Gilsenan Nordin, Chatarina Edfeldt, Lung-Lung Hu, Herbert Jonsson and André Leblanc

This volume takes a broad outlook on the concept of transculturality. Contributions from 19 authors and specialists, of almost as many diverse origins, grapple with this concept, each in their own way. How can transculturality be described? How can it help us understand our world? Many of the chapters deal with literary texts, others with the stories told in movies, drama, and visual art. There are texts about the complexity of the European Burqa-Ban debate, the negative aspects of Portuguese multiculturalism, or the border-crossing experiences of Filipino immigrants in Ireland. Several chapters examine stereotypes, the idea of movement, the dissolution of cultural borders, or the nature of bilingual writing. It is a unique contribution to the field, on a virtually global scale.
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Multicultural: Stories of Political and Cultural (Mis)Understandings


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Miguel Vale de Almeida

Multicultural: Stories of Political and Cultural (Mis)Understandings1

Brazilian sociologist Gilberto Freire’s masterwork Casa-Grande e Senzala (The Masters and the Slaves) was published in the early 1930s. Freire’s main contention was that Brazilian society was the outcome of a specific process of colonisation by the Portuguese. That process consisted of a plantation society – in north-eastern Brazil – where the white masters lived in close proximity to the black slaves, according to patriarchal and Catholic standards that promoted miscegenation, not only from a “racial” point of view, through sexual, albeit unequal, contact, but mostly from a cultural point of view. Although Freire does not dismiss the hierarchical and exploitative nature of slavery-based plantation society, he does, however, stress the specific difficulties of Portuguese colonisation (Portuguese demographic scarcity, low levels of capital investment, a weak state that outsourced many functions to the Church, etc.) and the way in which they allowed precisely for the meeting of the indigenous, the Black and the European roots. Freire’s narrative was to fuel the hegemonic Brazilian narrative of the mixture of the three “races” of “racial democracy,” and of supposedly low levels of explicit racism that are still so much part of the representations of Brazil (both the perceptions of non-Brazilians and the self-representation of the Brazilian nation state). Freire also tried to explain the reasons for the Portuguese specificity: he portrayed Portugal itself as the outcome of miscegenation between north-African, Jewish, Latin, Celtic, and...

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