Boundaries and Hybrids

Anyway, here we are now, with hybridity, collage,
melange, hotchpotch, montage, synergy, bricolage,
creolization, mestizaje, mongrelization, syncretism,
transculturation, third cultures and what have you;
some terms used perhaps only in passing as summary
metaphors, others with claims to more analytical status,
and others again with more regional or thematic
strongholds. Mostly they seem to suggest a concern
with cultural form, cultural products (and conspicuously
often, they relate to domains of fairly tangible
cultural materials, such as language, music, art, ritual,
or cuisine); some appear more concerned with process
than others.
It seems hybridity is at present the more favored
general term; no doubt drawing strength, like “flow”,
from easy mobility between disciplines (but then
several of the other terms are also fairly footloose).
Despite its biologistic flavor, it has a strength not least
in literary scholarship, due in large part to its presence
in the work of Mikhail Bakhtin. For Bakhtin, I take it,
hybridity was above all the coexistence of two languages,
two linguistic consciousnesses, even within a single
utterance; commenting on one another, unmasking
each other, entailing contradiction, ambiguity, irony;
again, the trickster theme may seem not far away.
As Homi Bhabha takes the notion into the cultural
critique of colonialism, it comes to draw attention to
the subversion, the destabilization, of colonial cultural
authority. But as different commentators, from a range
of disciplines, have taken it in different directions, with
varied analytical objectives, hybridity is by now itself a
term which is far from unambiguous.