Globalization as Hybridization

Globalization as Hybridization
Jan Nederveen Pieterse
Global Mélange: Windows for
Research on Globalization
How do we come to terms with phenomena such as
Thai boxing by Moroccan girls in Amsterdam, Asian
rap in London, Irish bagels, Chinese tacos and Mardi
Gras Indians in the United States, or ‘Mexican schoolgirls
dressed in Greek togas dancing in the style of Isidora
Duncan’? How do we interpret Peter Brook directing
the Mahabharata, or Ariane Mânouchkine staging a
Shakespeare play in Japanese Kabuki style for a Paris
audience in the Théâtre Soleil? Cultural experiences,
past or present, have not been simply moving in the
direction of cultural uniformity and standardization.
This is not to say that the notion of global cultural
synchronization is irrelevant – on the contrary – but it
is fundamentally incomplete. It overlooks the countercurrents
– the impact non-Western cultures have been
making on the West. It downplays the ambivalence
of the globalizing momentum and ignores the role of
local reception of Western culture – for example the
indigenization of Western elements. It fails to see the
influence non-Western cultures have been exercising
on one another. It has no room for crossover culture –
as in the development of’third cultures’ such as world
music. It overrates the homogeneity of Western culture
and overlooks the fact that many of the standards