15. TRANSCULTURALITY (18.01.2019)

Transculturality – a transcending bricolage (Regina Klein)

Today, the concept of transculturality is central to contemporary migration studies (Welsch 1999). Transculturality goes beyond traditional outdated separatist concepts of culture, where culture  is seen as a limited territory, filled by a specific ethnic group sharing a common  set of concepts: knowledge, standards, values, meanings, notions of time, gender, space as well as rituals, attitudes and habits. This  ‚ old‘, so called ‚spatial‘ formation of culture is outlined as a depository, a box, an island, a container or a ball, in which people live, go in and/or come out of, framed by borders to cross.

Transculturality goes beyond ‚multiculturalism‘, which is referring to a diversity of cultures living together, but each cultural group does not necessarily have interactions with each other.

It goes beyond ‚interculturality‘, whose premise is the idea that cultures, constituted as limited spheres, balls or islands, must inevitably clash in order to find a way of interaction between cultures in spite of this collision.

Both concepts, multiculturalism and intercultural-ism, act on the assumption that each culture is homogeneous, essential  and self-contained, like balls knocking against each other on a billiard table. They can neither accomplish a mutual understanding amongst the various cultures nor can they transgress or separate barriers.

By contrast, transculturality breaks with the traditional monocultural container-formation of culture in favor of cultural hybridization. As a consequence of migration, globalization, economic inter-dependencies, technical development and digitalization different cultures are intensely connected with one another. The old concept of ‚mono‘culture misrepresents cultures’ actual form, the type of their relations and even the structure of individuals’ identities and lifestyles. Nowadays, mixes and permeation constitute the main characteristics of culture. The present form is transcultural, in that it transcends classical cultural boundaries and opens transition (link) spaces.


Welsch, W. (1999): Transculturality – the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today. From: Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World, ed. By Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash, London: Sage 1999, 194-213.