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Transculturalism is defined as "seeing oneself in the other".Transcultural (pronunciation: trans kul′c̸hər əl or tranz kul′c̸hər əl) is in turn described as "extending through all human cultures" or "involving, encompassing, or combining elements of more than one culture".

In 1940, transculturalism was originally defined by Fernando Ortiz, a South American scholar, based on the article Nuestra America (1881) by José Marti. From Marti Gra's idea, Ortiz thought that transculturalism was the key in legitimizing the [hemispheric] identity. Thus Ortiz defined transculturalism as the synthesis of two phases occurring simultaneously, one being a deculturalization of the past with a métissage (see métis, as in the Métis population of Canada and the United States) with the present, which further means the "reinventing of the new common culture". Such reinvention of a new common culture is in turn based on the meeting and intermingling of the different peoples and cultures. According to Lamberto Tassinari, the director of Vice Versa, a transcultural magazine in Montreal, Canada, transculturalism is a new form of humanism based on the idea of relinquishing the strong traditional identities and cultures which […] were [the] products of imperialistic empires [...] interspersed with dogmatic religious values. Tassinari further declared that transculturalism opposes the singular traditional cultures that evolved from the nation-state. He also stated that transculturalism is based on the breaking down of boundaries, and is contrary to multiculturalism because in the latter most experiences that have shown [reinforces] boundaries based on past cultural heritages. And that in transculturalism the concept of culture is at the center of the nation-state or the disappearance of the nationstate itself. In this context, German cultural scholar Dagmar Reichardt stresses the didactical relevance of a paradigmatic shift in academia through Transcultural Studies, mainly focusing on the European model of conviviality in a globalized world.

  • Transculturalism emphasizes on the problematics of contemporary culture in terms of relationships, meaning-making, and power formation; and the transitory nature of culture as well as its power to transform.
  • Transculturalism is interested in dissonance, tension, and instability as it is with the stabilizing effects of social conjunction, communalism, and organization; and in the destabilizing effects of non-meaning or meaning atrophy. It is interested in the disintegration of groups, cultures, and power.
  • Transculturalism seeks to illuminate the various gradients of culture and the ways in which social groups create and distribute their meanings; and the ways in which social groups interact and experience tension.
  • Transculturalism looks toward the ways in which language wars are historically shaped and conducted.
  • Transculturalism does not seek to privilege the semiotic over the material conditions of life, nor vice versa.
  • Transculturalism accepts that language and materiality continually interact within an unstable locus of specific historical conditions.
  • Transculturalism locates relationships of power in terms of language and history.
  • Transculturalism is deeply suspicious of itself and of all utterances. Its claim to knowledge is always redoubtable, self-reflexive, and self-critical.
  • Transculturalism can never eschew the force of its own precepts and the dynamic that is culture.
  • Transculturalism never sides with one moral perspective over another but endeavors to examine them without ruling out moral relativism or meta-ethical confluence.


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