Rus Articles Journal

What is a cultural apropriation?

the Word “apropriation“ in the history of art designate loan of one works and their direct use in others. The cultural apropriation is an assignment by one culture of values of other culture or subculture (ethical standards, ideas of beauty and ugliness, rules of conduct, rituals and customs, works of art and spirituality) with distortion of their sense.

Most often it occurs in the relations of the dominating and oppressed cultures. And it not necessarily looks as frank ridiculing or mockery at certain people. Most often it occurs when a certain culture becomes “fashionable“. In such cases carriers of the dominating culture begin to imitate the part of “fashionable“ culture seen by it, without understanding at the same time the real sense of all these things and actions therefore it is strong it distorting.

For example, bind, a point or the ornament located on the center of a forehead which symbolizes integrity of the Indian culture it is now used as a fashionable exotic accessory, and some see in it means for this purpose that “to open the third eye“ or “to reach an enlightenment“.

The cultural apropriation is very favorable as things, unusual and exotic for inhabitants, easily turn into a fashionable trend which becomes demanded and makes big profit: designers create clothes, footwear and jewelry with external attributes of a certain culture, cafes with the characteristic, but adapted dishes open, books and songs are written, movies are shot and performances are put... Many do not see a problem in it, but the similar fashion also cultivates additional double standards. If the induska does a list on a body by henna, then she is perceived as the backward woman carrying on herself an unclear remnant of the past, and if the European, then it looks differently - as modern and successful, with a lovely fashionable accessory and possessing a rich inner world.

Also it promotes a dehumanization of representatives of apropriirovanny culture as from - for promoting there is nobody a stereotypic image they are perceived not as specific living people and as certain it is uniform - the generalized image or a carnival costume. At the same time representatives of the dominating culture have a false feeling that they know everything about such person and therefore diligently try “to thrust“ the person into a framework of the representations about is mute.

The tragedy of cultural assignment consists also that most of people, anyway, associate themselves with the culture and, “take away“ from them its attributes - it beats out from them from - under legs one of main “pillars“ of their self-identification then there is an assimilation, absorption by the dominating culture. Supporters of globalization consider it as especially positive phenomenon, however not everyone wants to refuse the originality and to become more faceless.

When use of attributes of culture to which you officially do not belong is not an apropriation? When you understand sense of these attributes and use them in a right context. The only way to really get rid in itself of tendency to cultural assignment is real, but not imaginary expansion of the outlook.