Advertisement

Cultural appropriation and the intimacy of groups

  • C. Thi NguyenEmail author
  • Matthew Strohl
Article

Abstract

What could ground normative restrictions concerning cultural appropriation in cases where they are not grounded by independent considerations such as property rights or harm? We propose that such restrictions can be grounded by considerations of intimacy. Consider the familiar phenomenon of interpersonal intimacy. Certain aspects of personal life and interpersonal relationships are afforded various protections in virtue of being intimate. We argue that an analogous phenomenon exists at the level of large groups. In many cases, members of a group engage in shared practices that contribute to a sense of common identity, such as wearing certain hair or clothing styles or performing a certain style of music. Participation in such practices can generate relations of group intimacy, which can ground certain prerogatives in much the same way that interpersonal intimacy can. One such prerogative is making what we call an appropriation claim. An appropriation claim is a request from a group member that non-members refrain from appropriating a given element of the group’s culture. Ignoring appropriation claims can constitute a breach of intimacy. But, we argue, just as for the prerogatives of interpersonal intimacy, in many cases there is no prior fact of the matter about whether the appropriation of a given cultural practice would consitute a breach of intimacy. It depends on what the group decides together.

Keywords

Cultural appropriation Art Cultural ethics Intimacy Group agency Culture Appropriation 

Notes

Acknowledgements

A great many people have helped this paper along the way. We’d like to thank Dave Baker, Kara Barnette, Julie Birch, Franklin Bruno, Anthony Cross, Tilda Cvrkel, Daniel Edelstein, Melinda Fagan, Jeremy David Fix, Mollie Gerver, Theodore Gracyk, Sterling HolyWhiteMountain, Bryce Huebner, Melissa Hughs, Andrew Huddleston, Shen-yi Liao, Dominic McIver Lopes, Samantha Matherne, Erich Hatala Matthes, Nadia Mehdi, Aaron Meskin, Joseph Rachiele, Nick Riggle, Guy Rohrbaugh, James Shelley, Angela Shope, Nils-Hennes Stear, Katherine Thomson-Jones, Miles Unterreisher, Jonathan Weinberg, Mary Beth Willard, Aaron Zimmerman, and the audiences of the Utah Aesthetic Normativity Conference, the Auburn Aesthetics Forum, the Leeds Cultural Appropriation Workshop, and the Pacific APA—and many more.

References

  1. Anderson, L. (2018). Calling, addressing, and appropriation. In D. Sosa (Ed.), Bad words (pp. 6–28). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cohen, T. (1978). Metaphor and the cultivation of intimacy. Critical Inquiry, 5(1), 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cohen, T. (1999). Jokes: Philosophical thoughts on joking matters. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Coleman, E. B. (2001). Aboriginal painting: Identity and authenticity. The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, 59(4), 385–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Gilbert, M. (2013). Joint commitment: How we make the social world. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gracyk, T. (2001). I wanna be me: Rock music and the politics of identity. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Huebner, B., & Hedahl, M. (2018). Shared values, interests, and desires. In M. Jancovik & K. Ludwig (Eds.), Routledge handbook of collective intentionality (pp. 104–114). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Inness, J. (1996). Privacy, intimacy, and isolation. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Lackey, J. (2018). Group assertion. Erkenntnis, 83(1), 21–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. List, C., & Pettit, P. (2011). Group agency: The possibility, design, and status of corporate agents. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Matthes, E. H. (2016). Cultural appropriation without cultural essentialism? Social Theory and Practice, 42(2), 343–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Matthes, E. H. (2018). Cultural appropriation and oppression. Philosophical Studies.  https://doi.org/10.1007/s11098-018-1224-2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Patridge, S. (2011). The incorrigible social meaning of video game imagery. Ethics and Information Technology, 13(4), 303–312.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Pettit, P. (2014a). Group agents are not expressive, pragmatic or theoretical fictions. Erkenntnis, 79(9), 1641–1662.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Pettit, P. (2014b). How to tell if a group is an agent. In J. Lackey (Ed.), Essays in collective epistemology. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Rovane, C. (2004). What is an agent? Synthese, 140(1/2), 181–198.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Rovane, C. (2014). Group agency and individualism. Erkenntnis, 79(9), 1663–1684.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Taylor, P. (2016). Black is beautiful: A philosophy of black aesthetics. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Tollefsen, D. P. (2015). Groups as agents. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  20. Toumela, R. (2007). The philosophy of sociality: The shared point of view. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Valk, J. (2015). The ‘Kimono Wednesday’ protests: Identity politics and how the Kimono became more than Japanese. Asian Ethnology, 74(2), 379–399.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Walsh, A. N., & Lopes, D. M. (2009). Objects of appropriation. In J. O. Young & C. G. Brunk (Eds.), The ethics of cultural appropriation (pp. 211–324). West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Young, J. O. (2010). Cultural appropriation and the arts. West Sussex: Wiley Blackwell.Google Scholar
  24. Young, J. O., & Brunk, C. G. (2012). The ethics of cultural appropriation. West Sussex: Wiley-Blackwell.Google Scholar
  25. Ziff, B., & Rao, P. V. (1997). Borrowed power: Essays on cultural appropriation. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.OremUSA
  2. 2.University of MontanaMissoulaUSA

Personalised recommendations