You are on page 1of 6

Baydar 1

Cemre Bengisu Baydar

Prof. Dr. Deniz Bozer
IED 466 (02) British Drama IV
27 February 2014
The Location of Identity and Culture in Mustapha Maturas Welcome Home Jacko
Culture possesses a complex and collective instability as it connects with the profound
and intricate history of humanity in certainly all its periods. Almost immediately responsive to
social changes and active in the construction of discursive reality, it consequently covers
many a unresolved contradiction regarding concepts such as authority, discourse,
independence, hierarchy, language, colonialism, ethnicity, globalization, nationality,
civilization, binarism, imperialism, marginality, and postcolonialism.
Homi K. Bhabha is a leading contemporary figure of postcolonial studies. Born in
India where he completed his B.A. in Mumbai University, he graduated with an M.A. and
D.Phil from Oxford University. He is currently the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of English
and American Literature and Language, and the Director of the Humanities Center at Harvard
In his Location of Culture, Homi K. Bhabha calls to and speaks from the buffer zone,
the point of negotiation between the national identity and the cultural identity. He employs a
number of key concepts in explaining his theory which is not one of clarifying of oppositions
but one of subverting the partition of people through the degradation of ethnic varieties and a
vast set of cultural differences to a straightforward negativism of otherness. His studies
surrounding his theory of cultural difference maintain the colonized identity as a product of an
ongoing transculturalism.

Baydar 2

Bhabhas approach in postcolonial theory bears strong effects of influence by

poststructuralism, mainly by the orientalism of Edward Said, Michel Foucault with his theory
of discourse, deconstruction of Jacques Derrida, and Jacques Lacans psychoanalysis. This
fact is sure to be beneficial in proceeding with grasping a historical understanding of his
The argument of Bhabha that the Western formulation and exertion of binarism is
merely serving to create an environment of ambivalence among both the colonizer and the
colonized is apparent in Mustapha Maturas 1979 play Welcome Home Jacko, a play that is
centered on the otherness. As the young group of West Indians, unemployed, spend a day at
the Youth Club in which their sense of belonging meets halfway with timeless hierarchy, their
inherent anger and frustration remains far from being satisfied since they do not even
recognize where they stand in this transcultural network of connection.
In Location of Culture, Bhabha disconfirms the way colonial discourse has usually
been fixed on binary oppositions, a comparison of two concepts in the most extreme form of
opposition that is widely useful in imperial ideology. In relation to the cultural construction of
reality, putting much emphasis on the polarization of two concepts will only stand up for the
approving of one over the other. This process of seeing the world in terms of binary
oppositions maintains an application of authority that brings about hierarchy. The
consequence is the preserving the status quo and homogenizing the colonial discourse. A
distinction between west/east; white/black; gay/straight; centre/margin; man/woman
represents very efficiently the violent hierarchy on which imperialism is based and which it
actively perpetuates (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and Tiffin 24). The young group in Welcome Home
Jacko, especially with Marcus, displays a behaviour and a use of language that is resemblant
of this opposition. They are quite aware of discrimination to the point of using it as a counter-

Baydar 3

attack on white people in general. They install a feeling of righteousness in every action that
they take part in.
If the one-sidedness that is prevalent in binarism generates one dominant side over the
other, the relationship between these two concepts becomes a steady foundation of a strict
hierarchy in which the colonized existed as the other of the colonizing culture (Ashcroft,
Griffiths, and Tiffin 36). Such a manner constructs an environment of natural and universal
difference in which the colonized happens to become the one in need of the enlightened
culture of the colonizer, which authorizes the implementation of colonialism. The colonial
discourse therefore encourages the colonized to mirror back the civilized behaviour and
cultural habits of their advanced white identity. But never has it been a simple replication of
these values and institutions. The result has been far more complex, ambivalent, and
inevitably threatening.
Encouraged to mimic the colonizer, the subject does not absolutely reach to a point of
ultimate identicalness, but stands as an identity not much the same as the colonizers. Mimicry
of this kind is almost always dangerous therefore for the colonial discourse as it is never very
far from mockery can appear to parody whatever it mimics (Ashcroft, Griffiths, and
Tiffin 139). This is where the vulnerability of imperialism lies. Its celebration of the colonial
mission of civilizing the indigenous people of distant locations in the name of exploiting their
riches is doomed to end up in an influence of ambivalence in the relationship of the colonizer
and the colonized. This is further empowered by the fact that singular meanings produced by
binary oppositions are mere illusions (Czepczynski 31). The simple relationship of dominance
intended by colonial discourse is disrupted since mimicry holds a double vision (Bhabha
88) that is never far from each side. This network of connection creates hybrid individuals
who become a representative stage of the polyphony in their society. Their case surpasses the
location of the sense of belonging to create an environment of ambivalent transculturality in

Baydar 4

the theory of Bhabha. The hybrid moment is a displaying point that not only disrupts the
colonial discourse but also creates an abrupt spontaneous neologism belonging to neither. It is
most prevalent in the language that is heavily affected by local dialect of the youth group in
Welcome Home Jacko. Marcus tells Gail that he can speak in the Southern accent if he wants
but the Rasta way with Jamaican accent is the way he feels right and honoured (Matura 24).
The language is located in between and is a strong platform of the ambivalence mimicry
produces. John McLeod explains this place of interplay forming by asserting that Language
is more than simply a means of communication; it constitutes our world-view by cutting up
and ordering reality into meaningful units (McLeod 18). It is not much possible to create
clear-cut images of polarization through these perspectives that combine images of variety.
Languages possess a suggestive power well beyond the immediate and lexical meaning
(Ngg 2536).
When the first and foremost problem with binarism is its oppression of interstitial
perspectives, that is overlapping places between the two concepts, colonial discourse acts in
order to render these unfitting states a region of taboo by exposing them to repression. Take,
for example, youth as the phase between childhood and adulthood. It is looked upon as a stage
of substantial scandal and suspicion. Any state between binary concepts shows traces of
extreme ambivalence that consistently results in an obsession with identity (Ashcroft,
Griffiths, and Tiffin 24). This stage forms Bhabhas Third Space Theory. He stresses that any
account or structure on culture takes place in this space. Cultural identity as opposed to social
identity is formed here and this is where the purity and security of discourses are challenged.
The youth club in the play acts both as a shelter and an illusionary prison for the teens. It is
the place where they can negotiate with one of the white people that they see as corrupting.
Still, upon encountering that the place she worked so hard to maintain is in danger of falling
down, Sally voices thought that belongs not only to her but also an entire nation that depends

Baydar 5

on exploitation, discrimination, and colonialism by telling Gail that the teens are hopeless in
terms of integrating into the society and it the only chance to both them and the society to
keep them in the club to avoid further mingling since they are only to cause more danger to
other people. When read from a theoretical perspective, this monologue of Sally serves to
diminish the ambivalence that would be a product of the interweaving between the colonizer
and the colonized.
To increase the colonial dependence is to operate layers of illusionary and neutralizing
meanings. The transcultural process of colonization and postcolonialism enforced by this
illusion is defied by the seed that has been planted by the same hand. The more the colonizer
encourages the mirroring of its values, the further they are scattered from clear-cut images of
oppression that homogenizes the colonial discourse.

Baydar 6

Works Cited
Matura, Mustapha. Welcome Home Jacko. London: Methuen Drama, 1979. Print.
Bhabha, Homi. Of Mimicry and Man, The Location of Culture. New York:
Routledge, 2004. Print.
Bhabha, Homi. DissemiNation, The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge,
2004. Print.
Ashcroft, Bill, Gareth Griffiths, and Helen Tiffin. Key Concepts in Post-colonial
studies. New York: Routledge, 1998. Print
Ngg wa Thiong'o. Decolonising the Mind. The Norton Anthology of English
Literature. Eds. Christ, Carol T. et al. 8th ed. New York: W. W. Norton &
Company Ltd., 2006. Print.
Czepczynski Mariusz. Cultural Landscapes of Post-Socialist Cities. Surrey: Ashgate,
2012. Print.
McLeod, John. Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester: Machester University Press,
2000. Print.