Narrative identity: Relating identity: José Martí and the idea of the cultural mestizaje

Iwona Krupecka 1
1 - Uniwersytet Gdański, Instytut Filozofii, Socjologii i Dziennikarstwa
2016; 17 (2):
ICID: 1224628
Article type: Original article
IC™ Value: 3.00
Abstract provided by Publisher
At the end of the nineteenth century, one of the central categories of the national discourse
became the opposition of tradition and modernity, of what is inner and what is foreign to
a nation. The modern way of thinking in “either/or” terms found its expression also in the
notion of culture: either as a homogenous totality, or as a complete changeability. When
José Martí brought up the question of the Latin American nature, the starting point for him was the colonial situation. In effect, he rejected the idea of the homogenous cultural
identity, and elaborated on the idea of the mestizaje as based in the historical past project
for the future. The important thing is that according to Martí both the future and the
past are a matter of narration, while the narration becomes a type of “pluritopical hermeneutics”.
The most significant factor is now the locus of enunciation as determined both
geographically and historically, that is the cultural history of the land. Hence, the vision of
the “natural” man, having a deep relationship with his land, and being changed by historical
influences as well. The heart of Martí’s project is the demand of creation, that instead
of the mimetic impulse, one should be driven by the principle of the autonomous activity
“here and now”, within a geo-culturally determined point of view. This creation would not
be ex nihilo, but it would be a kind of re-creation, adaptation and translation, needed for
“disenchant”, the myth of the national essence as a constant and consistent identity.

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