Limits of Hybridity Versus Limits of Tradition?: A Semiotics of Cultural Reproduction, Creativity, and Ambivalence among Multicultural Youth in Rudenga, East Side Oslo



Abstract Although hybridization may be understood as processes through which cultural forms become separated from already existing practices and recombine into new expressions, identities, and practices, a more explicit and empirically informed exploration of the limits of this phenomenon on a microlevel—and the tension to its opposite, in the shape of tradition—is largely absent in the anthropological literature. On the basis of several periods of fieldwork in a youth club in a multicultural suburb, East Side Oslo, over a time span of 12 years, I explore the psychosocial processes whereby a single actor strengthens and questions central aspects of the tradition with which he originally associates while also orienting himself toward some features of a different cultural tradition. Using the phenomenological semiotics of Charles Peirce, I approach these processes as instances in which actors articulate and make meaningful relations to themselves, others, and the outside world. [hybridization, reproduction, semiotics, multicultural youth, emotion]