Document Type

Working Paper


David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies


This paper offers a preliminary study of the concept of hybridity. It traces the etymological roots of the word and its link with corporate globalism, followed by the discussion of its usage in the exploration of social identity and of its progressive meanings in cultural politics. The paper also explores a similar mode of thinking in Chinese thought, focusing especially on the classical Chinese idea of 和而不同 (Mixing but maintaining difference, diversity and heterogeneity). It argues that the idea was related to a rationalist (Confucian) position in dealing with cultural heterogeneity and political conflicts. The paper describes the productive consequence of cultural and ethnic hybridization in Chinese history, contending that multiculturalism and religious tolerance coexisted with the notion of unitarianism and Sino-centric culturalism. It notices that a learning regarding the hybridization of divergent thought and practices was developed and syncretism has been a major pattern in the evolution of Chinese philosophy.

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