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Cultural Identity & Cinematic Representation sample essay

In his paper “Cultural Identity & Cinematic Representation,” Stuart Hall addresses the issue of cultural identity and the cinematic representation. Stuart remarks that there are several definitions of cultural identity. However, he uses it in terms of the idea of “oneness” of people. The definition reflects the common historical experiences ignoring the divisions of the actual sub culture. According to Hall media or Caribbean Cinema has to discover this particular cultural identity. This conception of Caribbean identity was significant in post colonial struggles that impacted the world. The other definition emphasizes that there are also critical differences that constitute their identity. They state that these differences are important and significant in the identification of Caribbean’s. It is also important to note that the cultural identities are not static, but change as time progresses. This definition is more practical as it is not superficial, but points out the differences and the transformation the people undergone due to colonization.

Thus, cultural identity is best described as unstable points of identification that are founded in historical events. In addition the formation of the second definition gives detailed insight into the Caribbean culture. The differences emphasized, show the combination of the two worlds, namely the African and the Asian world. Hall furthermore recognizes that it is continual change such as the uprooting of slavery, transportation, the western plantation economy that have resulted what is now called Caribbean culture. However, the differences in the subcultures are very complex and difficult to grasp. They have emerged due to different relations to other metropolitan centers. To illustrate the notion of difference in the culture but also the unity as a culture Hall introduces theorists such as Norris, Derrida and Saussure. It is suggested that difference should be seen as a moving representation of change.

Furthermore, in his paper, Hall mentions the cultural discovery of Caribbeans as Afro-Caribbeans with an African and slave heritage. This concept of cultural discovery is one significant identifier of identity that started in the 1970’s and made people realize their “black” heritage. Hall states that although there is literature on the recognition of African heritage, there is a lack of this development in movies. Hall addresses also the presents of European power in the Caribbean culture. As he writes the Caribbean culture has still to fight against the power exerted over them. However this European presence is also a part of their identity. Finally, he addresses the issue of the so called new world. Hall regards the new world as a place where different cultures meet and constitute another part of the Caribbean identity. Hall concludes that all the points mentioned should be part of the Caribbean cinema so that every person can be able to construct cultural identity by observing the historic events that have influenced the Caribbean people and created Caribbean culture.

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