chapter  1
Cultural hybridity and transculturality 1
WithAxel Michaels
Pages 12

Hybridity has become the normal status quo, and contributes to a positive connotation of many objects, practices and phenomena. In cultural studies, hybridity developed into a key term associated with ‘one of the most widely employed and disputed terms in postcolonial theory’. Hybridity was therefore mostly limited to phenomena in the context of cultural colonization and globalization. Moreover, there are particularly positioned persons who promote transculturality and cultural hybridity: cultural brokers or middlemen such as diplomats, missionaries, travellers, seafarers, traders, interpreters, political asylum seekers or migrants. A transcultural approach is different from seeing cultures as hybrid because the notion of transculturality neither presupposes pure cultures nor at least two or more homogeneous cultural units. J. Bronkhorst proposes that the culture ‘existed prior to the appearance of Jainism, Buddhism and other currents’ such as a jivikism. He also claims that this culture ‘remained recognizably distinct from Vedic culture until the time of the grammarian Patanjali and beyond’.