Transcultural decoloniality, global hip hop and reflexive narrative analysis

Singh, Jaspal Naveel (2023). Transcultural decoloniality, global hip hop and reflexive narrative analysis. In: de Barros, Solange M. and Resende, Viviane eds. Coloniality in Discourse: A Radical Critique. London: Routledge, pp. 136–154.



Reflecting on a decade of studying Indian hip hop culture, this chapter asks to what extent the category of ‘transculturation’ can remain relevant for the current decolonial turn in discourse studies. Originally coined in the literary critique and cultural analysis of the colonial aftermath in Latin America, transculturation at once points to transformation, transgression and transcendence. I argue that a renewed attention to transculturation can decolonise our academic activities and activism and help us critique the modern/colonial world order and its hegemonic epistemologies, methodologies and practices. A decolonial turn in discourse studies, I further argue, is necessary for three reasons: (1) expanding the global reach of the critical analysis of discourse, (2) including more researchers and students from previously colonised spaces and (3) formulating southern theories that can properly interrogate current global cultural flows. Drawing on my ethnographic experiences with studying hip hop cultural expression in Delhi, India, the chapter presents narrative excerpts taken from interviews with dancers, artists and musicians, mostly young heterosexual men from diverse migrant backgrounds who made Delhi their home during the city’s immense urban sprawl in the last two decades.

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