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Gerardo Caetano addresses the impact of cultural policies in development

by Richard Meckien - published Sep 17, 2015 12:10 PM - - last modified Sep 18, 2015 02:42 PM
Rights: Original version in Portuguese by Mauro Bellesa

Le Muse Inquietanti

Cultural policies constitute a development component of any society. In the current context of Latin America, "where the State can no longer what it could," the central question turns to be "which State and which public institutions do we want and do we need, and how to build a modern, integrative cultural policy not to be 'State-centric' ".

This is the opinion of Gerardo Caetano, from the Universidad de La Republica, Uruguay, who will be the speaker of the seminar Las Políticas Culturales como Variable Indispensable del Desarrollo [The Cultural Policies as Indispensable Variables of Development], to take place on September 22, at 2 pm, in the IEA events room. The event is organized by the IEA's research group Fórum Permanente: Cultural System Between Public and Private.

The event will feature three professors of the USP's School of Communications and Arts (ECA): José Teixeira Coelho Netto, Lúcia Maciel Barbosa de Oliveira and Martin Grossmann (director of the IEA and coordinator of the research group).


For the beneficiaries of the programs for emergency and social assistance in Latin American countries to increasingly become the subjects and not the objects of public action, social policies should be drawn centered in the focus of citizenship and in the fostering of an independent organization of the non-organized, according to Caetano.

(Read the reference text in Spanish)

He identifies two risks in this process in the case of culture: to believe that we can make cultural policies without politics and to demagogically choose a populist vision with a simplistic identification, sometimes in a monopolistic way, of popular culture with culture.

Caetano emphasizes that one can not lose sight of the fact that today there is an informal supranationality and transnational public spaces, and that it is impossible to speak of cultural policies without discussing the issue of their economic supports.


The professor identifies four aspects to be considered for the construction of Latin cultural policies that are a genuine support for Latin American development:

  • the need for many accurate diagnoses in the cultural sphere (in contrast to the view that the region's societies are overdiagnosed and missing proposals);
  • the fact that culture is by definition cumulative and that there is no sense in wanting to start over from scratch when drafting public policies;
  • to create cultural policies that are active and reformative, but without becoming the populist politics, which does not choose, does not select;
  • to put aside the parochial perspectives and choose flexibility and emphasis on issues of knowledge, innovation and professionalisation of cultural management, avoiding the mere copying of imported models.

Image: "Le Muse Inquietanti" (1918), by Giorgio De Chirico