‘To Move Through — and Beyond — Theory’: Bhabha, Hybridity, and Agency

  • Philip Leonard


Spivak, the previous chapter has shown, remains unconvinced that Derrida’s challenge to ontopological thinking can provide cultural theory with a compelling critical strategy. For her, Derrida’s critique of ontopology is symptomatic of his wider inattention to the particularities of postcoloniality: it implicitly monumentalizes all inscriptions of nationality and treats all insurgent narrative as a uniform repetition of hegemonic discourse. Offering a weak account of capital’s transnationality, Derrida’s concept also allows us to look only to dominant accounts of belonging, and it would therefore seem to leave all subaltern enunciation beyond theory’s compass. Bhabha’s The Location of Culture expresses similarly misgivings about Derrida’s willingness to consider postcolonial resistance. Here, Bhabha certainly draws upon some of Derrida’s ideas in order to challenge narratives of fixity that have been central to colonial conceptions of non-Western cultures; one of the debts that he declares most prominently is the one owed to Derrida’s ‘The Double Session’, an essay that extends the notion of supplementarity to Plato’s theory of mimesis in the Philebus.


National Identity Postcolonial Theory Cultural Hybridity Colonial Authority Hegemonic Discourse 
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© Philip Leonard 2005

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