Architecture, hybridities and post-apartheid design

28 May 2009

This chapter develops a methodological discussion on questions of hybridity in architectural theory and design, in the context of post-apartheid South Africa. Reference is made to differing ideas of hybridity; from early postmodern interest in hybrid architecture (Jencks and Venturi), to postcolonial theory (Bhabha and Fanon), as well as Cultural Studies into syncretic traditions amongst marginalised groups (Gilroy, Shohat and McClintok). The chapter promotes a postcolonial perspective on hybridity, which differs from the usual postmodern architectural perspective, through its emphasis on relations of discursive power (Foucault) that animate specific cultural/political conditions. Analytical distinctions are made between conscious and unconscious, momentary and sublimated, as well as overt and hidden forms of hybridity—distinctions which are particularly useful for an understanding of architecture.