David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies
Hybridization has become part of an ongoing trend in cultural production with both the globalization and localization of the culture industry, as is evidenced by the business strategies of some cultural producers. This study looks at two globally popular films that were adapted from Chinese works, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Mulan, as examples to illustrate the complex processes of hybridization, and the implications that these processes have on the debate on the globalization of culture. This study has found that “deculturalization”, “aculturalization”, and “reculturalization” can be used to characterize the process of the hybridization of cultural products. However, to draw conclusions about globalization and hybridization based only on the above observations may not reveal the whole picture. Although most producers have a preconceived idea of the needs and preferences of viewers, the way in which this idea influences production decisions differs according to who the producers are—their background, aspirations and work style—and the way in which the project is organized. As a result, the end product of an attempt to hybridize may exhibit quite distinct features that represent the different types and nature of hybridization. This variation under the same capitalist logic reminds us of the need to examine the issue within the larger context of culture. As Ulf Hannerz pointed out, cultures are by nature fluid and always in motion, as a result of the continuing interaction and discourse both within the culture itself and with the outside world. In this sense, cultures not only hybridize, but in the course of hybridization may also generate new characteristics and distinctions and make new connections with one another. Globalization may have stepped up the process and scale of the hybridization of cultural production and added or promoted certain new dimensions, but it has not changed the nature of the process.
Wang, Georgette and Yeh, Emilie Yueh-yu. Globalization and Hybridization in Cultural Production: A Tale of Two Films. Hong Kong: David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies, 2005. LEWI Working Paper Series no 36.