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S E L L I N G O U T O N E ’ S C U LT U R E 53 3 Selling Out One’s Culture The Imagined Homeland and Authenticity 53 Hughes ([1948] 1971) argued that knowing and/or living by one’s cultural values is what differentiates “authentic” members of the ethnic community from others. However , he warned that cultural artifacts don’t identify a culture; they are used to form a culture. In this chapter, I analyze participants’ discussion and construction of Filipino cultural values and artifacts, such as language. As we will see, in these interchanges, the division between Filipino and American is highlighted through participants’ articulation of cultural values and location. Learning about the shared meanings of cultures includes learning about cultural values. As stated in the last chapter, liberal pluralists assume that people bring their own cultures to the host country. Multiculturalism, in this view, involves merely learning about cultural differences within the host country and does not focus on the construction of values. And yet, the construction of cultural values is often done in relation to other countries; for immigrants or decolonized peoples, it is often constructed in relation to the host and/or the colonizer’s land. Not surprisingly, Filipino cultural values are associated with the “homeland” as the following sections attest. As we will see, instead of unearthing authentic values and language patterns, while discussing these topics, participants become more aware that they are tied to “real life” political and social issues. In particular , as we will see, cultural values and language are heavily contingent 54 B U I L D I N G D I A S P O R A upon the effects of colonialism, globalization, their images of the homeland , and the fear of colonial mentality. The Construction of Culture Like racial projects, culture is created with respect to political, economic, and national projects. Images and memories are often used to solidify boundaries; cultures have traditionally been defined as distinct systems of shared meaning (Clifford 1986; Gupta and Ferguson 1997). The world, according to this view, is comprised of separate, diverse cultures. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, social scientists were encouraged to learn about other cultures by collecting data through living among “the natives,” objectively studying each culture and drawing generalizations from multiple cases. This differs from current studies in that, in the past, cultures were “naturally” associated with a specific place and practiced by a specific group of people. Even though anthropologists have long abandoned these notions of rigid, natural, boundaried cultures, both cross-cultural studies (Clifford 1992; Gupta and Ferguson 1997) and multicultural policies (Scott 1995; C. West 1995) are based on this definition of culture. This is why it is important to study the creation of culture in relation to both space and power.1 In addition to political and economic policies, we also must study the use of images and memories of cultures in the construction of culture (Appadurai 1991; Boyarin 1994; Gupta 1994; Radhakrishnan 1996). By emphasizing the authenticity of a culture, proponents of the politics of difference ignore the diversity within cultural groups and write scripts that marginalize individuals who choose not to follow the scripts (Appiah 1994). As stated before, articulating authentic cultures, whether from an institutional or grassroots level, is also a form of essentialism that can contribute to oppression (Appiah 1994; Taylor 1994). This is why it is imperative to analyze how (and in what context) differences are created, intertwined, and hierarchically organized and to explore the possibilities of recreating communities and identities based on non-static, fluid images of social categories, including cultures (Scott 1995). Transnationalism and the Changing Definitions of “Diaspora” The study of movements across national boundaries —whether for economic, political, or personal reasons—can illuminate the potential of creating such communities. The literature on S E L L I N G O U T O N E ’ S C U LT U R E 55 transnationalism—which reflects increasing migration, global capitalism , and the technological advances that make transnational networks possible—captures the permeability of national boundaries and the possibility of re-forming networks and understandings of political organizing (see Schiller and Blanc 1993). A key concept is the notion of diaspora, which attempts to capture the constant flow of information , people, and/or cultural artifacts across nation-states and which simultaneously acts as a category or marker for a certain group of people. Some earlier definitions of diaspora are still...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780813537443
Print ISBN
9780813535135
MARC Record
OCLC
59661562
Pages
208
Launched on MUSE
2013-05-20
Language
English
Open Access
N
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