Summary: Traditions not quite past and modernity not yet wholly present make a curious hybrid of Latin American culture. In this thought-provoking book, a leading Mexican intellectual explores the theoretical and practical challenges presented by such a hybrid state. In particular, Néstor García Canclini questions whether Latin America can move toward democracy and compete in a global marketplace without giving in to temptations of elitism or losing its cultural ...show more identity.
García Canclini moves with ease from the ideas of Habermas, Bourdieu, Gramsci, and Foucault to economic analysis, from appraisals of the intercultural tensions in cultural phenomena ranging from exchanges between Octavio Paz and Jorge Luis Borges to Chicano film and border art, comic strips and grafitti. Central to Hybrid Cultures is the notion that social formation does not necessarily run from ancient to modern, or from inferior to superior. García Canclini illustrates how, in an attempt to modernize and still remain culturally pure, Latin American nations have often legitimated existing inequalities. The remedy he proposes combines anthropological and sociological methods to build an autonomous culture that can survive in the transnational market. Theoretically innovative, Hybrid Cultures at once clarifies and advances the development of democratic institutions in Latin America.