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Michaela Ott

Abstract

I discuss current shifts in cultural understandings under postcolonial conditions with particular regard to the French-African-Antillean area. Through a short reconstruction of culture constitutive approaches, their continuation and criticism in the Antillean area and furthermore the Afropolitan interpretations by Mbembe,Enwezor and African artists, I come to the conclusion that we need an epistemological shift in the cultural studies discourse itself. Along the lines of the affirmative- critical aesthetic of the mentioned African theorists, curators and artists, I advocate that the cultural studies discourse distances itself from descriptions in terms of cultural contrast, of the same and the other, of white and black and so on. I argue that the discourse should abandon the idea of unified or oppositional cultures and instead emphasize the „composite-cultural", i.e. the entanglements of respective personal or societal forms of articulation and existence as well as profile the types of symbolic interpenetration, the temporally and aesthetically conditioned „dividuation". With examples from the African art context, I attempt to outline certain dividual procedures and to stress the fact that nowadays even western articulations are bound to endure forced cultural participation [Zwangsteilhabe]: Instead of discursive contrasts we are in need of analyses of the respective participation and (self-)dividuation processes.