Cultural Identity in Latin America

Toward a Cooperative Understanding of Our Past

Authored by: Carlos Manuel Salomon , Laura Inés Catelli , Jorge Majfud , Paloma Martínez-Cruz , Magalí Rabasa , Enrique Salmón , Umi Vaughan , Gloria E. Chacón

The Routledge History of Latin American Culture

Print publication date:  December  2017
Online publication date:  December  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138902565
eBook ISBN: 9781315697253
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315697253-21

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Abstract

This essay reflects the intermingling of concepts concerning the idea of culture in the geographic region known as Latin America. Locating a universal meaning of cultural identity, of course, is impossible. Latin Americans and the emerging Latinx population in the United States are so distinct from one another that the goal of finding any such meaning seems strange. Yet the people of Latin American origin have one thing in common that goes beyond the simple markers of religion and language: they traverse borders at an almost unprecedented rate, borrowing new identities, languages, and political concepts along the way, breaking from the confinement of their local worlds and, in the process, becoming transnational actors. We have all heard the anecdote of the migrant who only becomes politicized once he has left the confines of his small town; mingling with other migrants in a foreign land he is able to better understand the globalized forces that caused him to leave in the first place. It is no coincident that migration is a force that unifies the consciousness of distinct people. Latin American migration is rooted in struggle and coercion. The very people who are leaving have ancestors who crossed oceans, were brought over in chains, were stripped of their culture and lands, and forced to relocate. Migration is a continuation of that process and it is in this reality that a new identity emerges.

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