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Stuart Hall’s Cultural Identity Diaspora Theory Essay Sample 

This essay sample will focus upon Stuart Hall’s views on the cultural identity of the African diaspora, cultural presence in the Caribbean identity, and diasporic identity in the Caribbean.

Stuart Hall was a Jamaican-born British cultural theorist who was also a political activist and sociologist who is known for being the founder of the school of thought. It is currently known as British Cultural Studies.

He was known for playing a very important role in the expansion and scope of cultural studies to be able to deal with race, gender, and other social differences.

‘Cultural identity’ is a sense of belongingness to a particular social community or group. It is what a person could easily relate to when he has to self identify himself. It can be related to his nationality, ethnic group, race, religion, class, or locality which has a distinct culture.

Hall defines cultural identities as the methods in which one position himself in a group along with a past narrative. It is a matter of belonging to the past and future as well that decides the cultural existence of a person.

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Stuart Hall’s views on cultural identity 

According to Stuart Hall, there are two distinctive definitions of cultural identity.

The first definition of cultural identity states that it is a kind of collective identity that the people hold in common since ages. Such people share a common history and share common ancestory.

Cultural identity is a continous, constant, unchanging and stable frame of identity. It allows the past tracking and tracing of the early descendants and which helps in reflecting upon the experiences of the ancestors and sharing it’s truth.

Black population living in the diaspora (scattered) need to have knowledge about their African ancestry and their past in order to identify their true cultural identity.

The second definition of cultural identity is considered as superior to the first one according to Stuart Hall. It recognises the points of similarity and points of dissimilarity or differences that contributes to what we are really in the present and what have we become after the historical intervention.

Cultural identity goes through constant transformation which is not fixed and it’s past experiences are deep rooted.

The second explanation of the cultural identity is pretty much challenging and tough as it shows the differences which are not clearly identifiable and are deep rooted. It shows a mixture of the African diaspora.

Caribbean cultural identity in the different presences

Stuart Hall describes Caribbean cultural identity in three distinct presences which are African, European and American.

According to Hall, the African presence was suppressed by the slavery and colonial rule which has overlapped and hidden it’s culture, language, arts, music and religion. For many of the Africans living in diaspora, Africa becomes an imagined community to which they feel sense of belongingness.

Hall argued that Africa cannot get back into it’s original cultural shape and no going back into time as it too has changed after years of slavery.

While European presence in the Caribbean cultural identity holds a legacy of colonialism, racism, authority and power. Even though people would like to separate themselves from the history of the oppressors.

Hall argues that now European presence has become an inevitable part of their cultural identity and history.

Hall describes presence of America in the Caribbean identity of a person as the ground, place or territory where all the different cultures of the world meet.

Diasporic cultural identity in the Carribeans

Diasporic cultural identity in the Caribbeans is a mixture of all the presences from all around the globe.

The black people living in diaspora are constantly evolving, mixing, reinventing, and hybridizing influences from America, Asia, Europe, and the rest of the world. This has influenced their cultural practices and their daily lives.

Blacks now have a multicultural identity as they co-exist with the rest of the communities and are also diasporic people. They share their different cultural identities which they get from living in different parts of the world.

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The above sample mentions the cultural identity theory of Stuart Hall, African diaspora along with presences in the cultural identity of the Caribbeans.

Sociology, Cultural Studies, Cultural and Heritage Studies, Applied Social Studies QQI Level 5, Social Studies QQI Level 5 students can read this essay to get a clear understanding of the African diaspora and their cultural identity through this theory.

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