The idea of a contact zone and a community is distinct from one another, yet they can both be used to define the characteristics of the same group. Mary Louise Pratt believes that communities are often seen as the more dominant viewpoint to the general public but she also argues that we need to develop ways to understand the differences of culture and grasp the idea of transculturation through the contact zone. A single group should always be viewed from both community and contact zone points of view to gain greater perspective and understanding.
A community is a place where everyone is more equal and is there for the same reason. The definition of a community is a group of people living in the same place and sharing common interests, goals and characteristics. This provides very little conflicting behaviors and can be beneficial to groups because communities offer individual support, and acceptance from a group of people. Communities provide a utopian society where the members can feel equal and experience the same things. Communities provide a sense of fraternity which is the state or feeling of friendship and mutual support within a group, for example my dormitory floor is a community because as aviation students, we see each other as equals and come together to expand our education in aviation by studying together and making sure we’re all ready for tests that are coming up.
On the other hand, a contact zone is a place where two different cultures meet, inform each other and clash. This is explained by Pratt when she discusses Guaman Poma’s 1200 page letter the “New Chronicle”. Guaman Poma was an Andean writer that wrote the “New Chronicle” in a mix of both Spanish and Quechua. He rewrote Christian stories with the Andean people as the center of the religion. Pratt calls this an autoethnographic text, which means that the Andean people described themselves with the descriptions that others gave them. Guaman Poma showed a single topic from both...
Cited: Pratt, Mary L. "Arts of the Contact Zone." Ways of Reading: An Anthology for Writers. By David Bartholomae and Tony Petrosky. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. 483-98. Print.
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