The talk of cultural appropriation is omnipresent. It calls into question, especially for a progressive political position, the legitimacy of cultural production that makes use of the stocks of other, "foreign" traditions. While many criticise this as a form of theft from marginalised groups, others reject the accusation: it expresses a notion of identity that has points of contact with the völkisch right. In fact, as Jens Balzer shows, all culture is based on appropriation. The question is therefore not whether appropriation is justified, but how to appropriate properly. Drawing on the emergence of hip hop and the astonishing popularity of the desire to be "Indian" in post-war Germany, Balzer sketches out an ethics of appropriation. In it, he opposes a bad appropriation, because it naturalises and determines, with a good appropriation that consciously employs its own madeness. Based on the thinking of the Creole Édouard Glissant and Paul Gilroy's "Black Atlantic" as well as Judith Butler's Queer Theory, such an ethics of appropriation also becomes the basis of an enlightened relationship to one's own identity.
English sample translation
Jens Balzer, born in 1969, lives in Berlin and is a feature writer for DIE ZEIT.