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On Edge

On Edge: The Crisis of Contemporary Latin American Culture

George Yúdice
Jean Franco
Juan Flores
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1992
Edition: NED - New edition
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    On Edge
    Book Description:

    “On Edge is where the reader will be, anxiously at the margins of Latin America’s elite centers, throughout this excellent collection of essays on cultural and political innovations. It is a most welcome hands-on guide to some of the post-modern challenges to projects of national modernization, a cultural analogue to studies of new political movements.” --Doris Sommer

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-8375-8
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. vii-xiv)
    George Yúdice, Jean Franco and Juan Flores

    “A new dawn in the New World” is the tune that several Latin American presidents have been singing as backup to George Bush’s lead on his December 1990 promotional tour for the Enterprise for the Americas Initiative.¹ “To fulfill the New World’s destiny,” Mr. Bush crooned, “all of the Americas and the Caribbean must embark on a venture for the coming century: to create the first fully democratic hemisphere in the history of mankind.”² On the flip side of the democracy label is the Brady plan, “an Administration proposal that developing debtor countries sell state-owned industries and cut spending while...

  4. Postmodernity and Transnational Capitalism in Latin America
    (pp. 1-28)
    George Yúdice

    There is a curious — and thoroughly understandable — argument that Latin America sets the precedent of postmodernity long before the notion appears in the Euro-North American context.¹ This argument is analogous to others that attempt to endow heterogeneous formations with the cachet of mainstream postmodern rhetoric. Thus,la raison baroque,according to Christine Buci-Glucksmann, anticipates a postmodern reluctance to integrate numerous visual spaces into a coherent representation.² This idea, in fact, has long had currency in what critics call the Latin Americanneobaroque.³ Minority writers and intellectuals in the United States have also made similar claims for black and Latino cultures....

  5. Cultural Reconversion
    (pp. 29-44)
    Néstor García Canclini

    How can we speak of a modern city, which is often neither modern nor a city? How do we study the crafty way it reorganizes everything that enters and tries to contain that disorder? The social sciences contribute their own abundance and dispersion to this difficulty. The anthropologist arrives on foot, the sociologist by car on the main highway, and the media analyst by plane. Each observes whatever he or she can and constructs a different and therefore partial vision. There is a fourth perspective, the historian’s, which is acquired not by entering but by leaving the city, moving from...

  6. Liberalism and Authority: The Case of Mario Vargas Llosa
    (pp. 45-64)
    William Rowe

    When asked in a recent questionnaire for their response to Vargas Llosa’s campaign against the nationalization of banks in Peru, Latin American intellectuals revealed in their answers a tacit assumption that the only positions available were attack or defense.¹ In this, they were colluding with Vargas Llosa’s chosen mode: the style of his discourse is polemics, a style that includes an invitation ofad hominemargument in order to advance its claim to superior moral capital. A further difficulty in addressing the issues at stake is the need to disengage from a debate whose terms have become fossilized, preventing comprehension...

  7. Going Public: Reinhabiting the Private
    (pp. 65-84)
    Jean Franco

    During the last decade, Latin American women have emerged as protagonists in a number of grass-roots movements — the Mothers’ movements of the southern cone, peasant movements, Catholic base communities, union movements, and local struggles around basic needs such as child nutrition, homes, soup kitchens, and water supply. These “new social movements” have given a ignificantly original dimension to contemporary political life,¹ precisely at a time when feminist groups have also grown rapidly in numbers and influence² and when an unprecedented number of women writers have emerged on the scene. If any generalized observation holds over the vast spectrum of struggles,...

  8. “The Other Side of the Process”: Racial Formation in Contemporary Brazil
    (pp. 85-114)
    Howard Winant

    In the centennial year of the abolition of slavery in Brazil, the country’s enormous black¹ population has been restive. There were manifestos and demonstrations; notable efforts were made to invigorate dormant and divided political organizations. Incidents of racial discrimination, and black protest against it, appeared more often on the television news. Strong guarantees of minority rights and racial equality were at one point included in the draft of the new Brazilian constitution, although, with the important exception of Indian rights, these provisions survive only in diluted fashion in the final document.²

    To be sure, the new racial activism was tentative...

  9. Theater after the Revolution: Refiguring the Political in Cuba and Nicaragua
    (pp. 115-140)
    Randy Martin

    In the center of Havana is the Plaza of the Revolution. At one end, steps rise to a towering monument and review stand where Fidel Castro has delivered some of his most important speeches. Facing the concrete spire across the plaza is a wall-sized portrait of Che Guevara affixed to offices of the Revolutionary Armed Forces (FAR). At the other two sides of the square stand the National Library and the National Theater. Icons of politics and culture frame this largest of public gathering places. Millions gathered here to cheer Castro’s denunciation of those who fled from Mariel. Hundreds of...

  10. Bad Poetry, Worse Society
    (pp. 141-160)
    Iumna M. Simon and Vinícius Dantas

    Poesia jovem(1982), an anthology of 1970s poetry, represents a new direction in poetry made by and designed for an adolescent audience.¹ It was aimed at a youth culture identified with the playful and uncommitted registering of everyday experience. Analogous to rock music that is no longer nonconformist and rebellious, it is part of a movement called “marginal poetry,” which broke with contemporary literary values, particularly with the formal and existential restraint of the avant-garde.² By the end of the 1970s marginal poetry had given rise to a number of derivative movements. And it clearly had been domesticated to a...

  11. Cultural Redemocratization: Argentina, 1978–89
    (pp. 161-186)
    Kathleen Newman

    The Argentine daily newspaperClarínregularly features on its back page the comic strips of the best graphic artists and political humorists of the nation: among others, Fontanarrosa, Tabaré, Crist, and Caloi. On August 8, 1989, Caloi’s strip “Diógenes y el linyera,” which chronicles the misadventures of a philosophically inclined dog and his down-and-out human companion, ran the following conversation between the two:

    EL LINYERA: Hyperinflation has got to affect humor. There are many reasons to raise the price of jokes. The raw material is imported, because humor has left the country. The producers of our humor have increased the...

  12. Cortijo’s Revenge: New Mappings of Puerto Rican Culture
    (pp. 187-206)
    Juan Flores

    It was the best joke of the week. Imagine, naming the Centro de Bellas Artes after Rafael Cortijo. El Centro Rafael Cortijo para las Bellas Artes, the Cortijo Center for the Fine Arts! The very idea of it, our country’s cultural palace, its halls bearing the venerable names of Antonio Paoli, Rene Marqués, Carlos Marichal, and Sylvia Rexach, baptized in honor of the street musician par excellence, the unlettered, untutored promulgator ofbomba y plena!And yet, farfetched as it might seem, people began treating as a fait accompli what was only a proposal by an aspiring political candidate, or...

  13. Interview with Tomás Ybarra-Frausto: The Chicano Movement in a Multicultural/Multinational Society
    (pp. 207-216)

    People tend to forget that “Hispanics” occupied parts of the present territory of the United States long before it was occupied by French or British colonizers, in fact, as far back as the Spanish conquest. But the emergence of Chicanos as a “minority” and indeed the adoption of the termChicanowas very much of the 1960s and it is there that a review of the movement begins.

    In the 1960s and 1970s, Chicano cultural movements tended to be based on alternative institutions and to avoid the mainstream. This marginality was a response to the historical experience of the community...

  14. Contributors
    (pp. 217-218)
  15. Index
    (pp. 219-234)