Author: Katie Petersen

PhD student, German



The idea of the transcultural society has been most notably developed by Wolfgang Welsch, who asserts that it is necessary to think of culture as more than a juxtaposition of the familiar and the foreign (196). The terms “multiculturality” and “interculturality” both proceed from a traditional model portraying cultures as self-contained, homogenous entities. Any contact between them, according to this model, is analogous to two spheres bumping into one another, or bouncing off one another. Boundaries remain rigid and, while information can be exchanged, no change takes place as a result.

            The idea of transculturality takes into account the internal complexities and constant variations characteristic of every culture, as well as recognizing the degree to which cultures are becoming inseparably linked with one another. Lifestyles are no longer limited or delineated by nationally based cultures (Welsch, 197-198). Categories, boundaries, and concrete distinctions such as “foreign” and “familiar” are becoming increasingly inaccurate, largely as the result of the globalization of economic and communication systems. Transculturality recognizes both horizontal and vertical differences within each society and accounts for the dissolution, on the one hand, and the strengthening, on the other, of nationally and culturally based groupings and identities. Indeed, transculturality accommodates globalizing trends as well as movements towards specificity and unity; both local and cosmopolitan affiliations are provided for (Welsch, 205).


Works Cited


Welsch, Wolfgang. Transculturality – the Puzzling Form of Cultures Today.” Spaces of Culture: City, Nation, World. Ed. Mike Featherstone and Scott Lash. London: Sage. 1999. 194-213.