The academic dominance of cultural studies and the increasing interest and significance of cultural conflict in our world has encouraged various theories of culture, the most pervasive being theories of transculture and hybrid cultural forms and entities. In this guest column, Bourbon argues that all such trans theories are fundamentally flawed and distort the very idea of culture. His essay analyzes the concept of transobjects and transcultures, looking both at the assumptions supporting such objects and ideas and at their explanatory uses. This discussion leads to one on the relationship between texts and contexts. Most cultural theories, and all transcultural theories, confuse the relationship between texts and contexts, specifically misusing the idea of the conditions of possibility, while relying on various forms of personification. Bourbon both criticizes these ideas and also offers a more modest idea of culture, along with specific suggestions on how to study and understand what we call “products of culture,” including fictions and ourselves.

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