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Crossing the border(line) : Madonna's encounter with the Hispanic.

Fouz-Hernández, S. (2004) 'Crossing the border(line) : Madonna's encounter with the Hispanic.', in Madonna's drowned worlds : new approaches to her cultural transformations, 1983-2003. Aldershot: Ashgate, pp. 138-157.


Much has been written about Madonna's subversion, deconstruction and inversion of gender. With a few exceptions (hooks, 1992 and 1993; Nakayama and Peñaloza, 1993; Scott, 1993), critics have paid far less attention to her deconstruction of ethnic identities and very little has been written about her take on the Hispanic, which is perhaps the most influential and re-visited 'ethnic' style in her work. Almost every year since 1984 and up to 2003, Madonna has presented either a song, video, photo shoot or live performance displaying a Hispanic influence and she has recorded and performed in Spanish some of her hit singles. It has become common place both in academic and journalistic criticism on Madonna to describe her subcultural practices as 'an appropriation of style rather than a substantive politics' (Robertson, 1996). Yet most of this criticism, although apparently aware of the obvious implications of commerciality and longevity, seems to bypass the fact that Madonna herself, often hailed as the All-American girl, is in fact half Italian, half French-Canadian and the mother of a half-Hispanic girl. This chapter analyses four of Madonna's Hispanic-themed videos ('Borderline' 1984, 'La Isla Bonita' 1986, 'Take a Bow' 1994 and 'You'll See'/'Verás' 1995), the context of the film Evita (Parker, 1996) and some of Madonna's live performances in an attempt to explore her take on the Hispanic and to argue that, despite the plethora of stereotypical images used in these videos, Madonna's appropriations of Hispanic cultures and her own ethnic malleability could be read as a subversive reminder of the multi-racial and multi-cultural make up of the USA.

Item Type:Book chapter
Keywords:Ethnic identity, Pop culture.
Full text:Full text not available from this repository.
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Record Created:21 Jan 2009
Last Modified:10 Sep 2013 11:45

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