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Pensar la mezcla: Un relato intercultural.

By Yolanda Onghena. Barcelona, Gedisa, 2014, ISBN 978-84-9784-830-5

This book meets the readers' expectations and it assigns the reader a critical role in an analytical task. The project can be approached from three main entries. They constitute keys and, at the same time, stabilize a debate on the very concept which is its object, 'la mezcla'. Firstly, what is it as a phenomenon, how and why it should be central in our present-day interrogation of concepts such as hybridization, creolization, etc. And secondly, the book suggests avenues to 'la mezcla' apropos the fact that almost always the issue would tend to emphasize tensions, such as opposing white and black. Thus, an invocation of colours. Often the most generous studies on 'la mezcla' invoke generally the necessity of transcending this tension because of its racial implications and thus transforming matters of colour into matters of social ethics. This study marks an urgency. Its concern dwells on 'la mezcla' within cultural contexts as well as within manners of interpreting it. The book addresses, first of all, 'la mezcla' itself, and then interrogates intellectual approaches, and describes how to think 'la mezcla' itself and its figures...

This book, first of all, can be approached from the organization of its chapters and their thematic demonstrations. The first part introduces the concept of 'la mezcla'. The second, administers the obvious, 'la mezcla', from concrete spatial dynamics. As illustration, 'la mezcla' is presented as it is actualized concretely in colour relations and most visibly between the white and the black: the white as an expected colour and the black as an alterity. And, the third part suggests a will to access the notion and reality of alterity differently. The organization itself is very practical and reads very well. Firstly, culture as an anxious system; secondly, white versus negro; and thirdly, how to think 'la mezcla' from within a culture, ways of speaking about culture in terms of manners of interpreting the culture, and demands of reformulating the culture...

One could read 'Pensar la mezcla' from three transcendentals. Let us use Michel Foucault's concepts life, work, and language. They determine a biology, an economics and a linguistics. They interact in the practice of everyday life with the identity politics of an I, a You, a We and a They. The author of this book presents clearly how in the culture as a system organized, the alterity of 'la mezcla' declines itself in the tensions of effects of life, labour, and language. They contribute to the organizations of the 'corazon de las tinieblas'. In fact, to think 'la mezcla', one addresses asymmetrical frontiers. A language of ethnicity and race as well as a language of national identity and its adjectives in terms of interpretation. They all contribute to what one could see apropos the existence of an alterity in cultural processes of production and social relations within a culture and in transcultural experiences.

There is a philosophy concerning the obvious existence of otherness and its complexity. It is possible to see, thanks to this work, lines of social passions apropos 'la mezcla'; that is, manners in languages and the disciplines they refer to concerning a diversity that qualifies the concept of being-for-others. And, for instance, it becomes possible to refer to Maxime Chastaing apropos the truth of cultural common place that tends to conceive the woman as a model of angels and animals in paintings, and also to conceive such variations of alterity as a key for accessing the conceptual field of 'la mezcla' in the domain of social sciences. They indicate the urgency of the task of conceptual clarifications that this book assumes with competence and elegance. This research describes a problem and how it might antagonize social perceptions, cultural signalizations, and past metaphors that transcend cultural frontiers. Its objective is elsewhere. It is the sight of 'la mezcla' that has been feared as that monster which might come to dominate perceptions, comfort issues on preconceptions and manners of administering cultural differences in political economy and symbolic universes. In fact, how to think the reality of 'la mezcla' in our present day context behind the histories of cultural positivities in a perspective that transcend frontiers.

And this book forces the reader to re-situate diversity and difference as well as ways of positioning and naming 'la mezcla' in a world made of conflicting theoretical and concrete propositions that nowadays transcend frontiers.

v-y mudimbe