Transculturality and the Included Third

Transculturality and the Included Third

Patrick Imbert (University of Ottawa, Canada)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 18
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5035-0.ch003
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Abstract

Transculturality is principally defined by its relation to multiculturalism and interculturality as the constant invention of relational identity suggesting that the self is in the other and the other is in the self. In the context of “glocalisation,” we no longer seek to resolve the contradictions in one synthesis that results in monoculturalism, founded on the characteristic dualism of modern Nation-State. The possibilities are instead capitalized in the dynamics of what we call the “included third.” We try thus to understand the semiotic codes of diversity by, at the same time, avoiding relativism by recognizing what is undeniable and yet denied by the mediation of the monocultural dictatorships, fundamentalisms, or terrorisms masking murders and genocide either behind the promise of eternity or threat of disappearance. What is undeniable is the fact that people who were once alive are now dead. Inclusion and its strategies require testimony of a cultural memory very different from the disinformation of the official histories, tools in the hands of “lynchers,” those who lynch somebody, as René Girard calls them. Different literary and mediated texts are analyzed from this point of view based on their valorization of the metaphor of the chameleon, that is a very positive capacity to blend in different cultural contexts, in this chapter.
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2. Avoiding Systemic Nationalism

2.1 Reflexivity and the Included Third

A certain type of reflexivity upon the codes and the processes of signification and communication could be considered as the manifestation of the existence of A and Not-A, that is to say the homogeneous, the self as the identity, and the heterogeneous, the self as the images of plural selves. Therefore, in the combination of A and not-A, of the production of the third position, the reflexive self overlapping inside and outside, producing thus images of multiple selves efficiently situated in different contexts. Simply put, the logic of non-contradiction, that of “either...or can be replaced by that of the included third. The dynamics of reflexivity allow for the replacement of the duel, seen as dualistic and polarized, by a game of ambivalence, that of the symbols for example (and all the dictionaries of symbols emphasize their ambivalence and reliance upon the dominant context), and by situating them at another level to transform their perspectives. As for the myths whose capacity to resolve/mask generic contradictions of life/death, sexual difference, etc., have been discussed and elaborated by Claude Lévi-Strauss (1958), they are captured in the process of reflexivity as the cultural operation that invents a hierarchical community that considers itself as homogeneous and whose violence resides in the dualism of self/other, and on the “Girardian” mechanism of appropriative mimesis (Girard, 1978), producing the “other” as scapegoat. In other words, reflexivity captures the dualism produced by the myth that, if it resolves/masks the interior contradictions, projects them on the other and creates synonymic dualities such as inside/outside, self/the other and civilization/barbarism, all of them being exclusionary in their foundations. This type of reflexivity is the act of considering the included third as a possibility that eludes exclusion; it is combined with other approaches to compare the possibilities of engaging oneself in the construction of a relational image of the self rather than a dualistic and static one.

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