Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Latin American Popular Culture

Latin American Popular Culture: Politics, Media, Affect

Series: Monografías A
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 314
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Latin American Popular Culture
    Book Description:

    "Popular culture" has always represented a fulcrum within social, cultural and anthropological discourses in Latin America. Often imagined as representing a challenge to the dominant cultural paradigms of the "lettered city", it has repeatedly been mapped onto political, economic and even libidinal boundaries - between country and city, between folk and street, between the "masses" and elite national/political structures. Yet at the turn of the 21st century, concepts such as the "folk", the "popular", the "mass" and the "multitude" have exploded in the face of new cultural and informational technologies, putting cinematic, televisual and cybernetic manifestations of popular culture at the forefront of social processes. In order to address the fragile contemporaneity of popular culture in Latin America, the essays in this collection engage with a wide range of cultural phenomena, from forms of mass political experience in the Colonial and Independence periods, to the modern-day emergence of street art, blogs, comic books and television, as well as the recycling of refuse as art, the marketing of santería to tourists, and the filming of poverty in the favela. In so doing, they explore the diverse regimes of affect that both sustain and destabilize national symbolic orders, and chart the novel mediations between the national and the global in a see-sawing climate of conflicting economic and political ideologies. Geoffrey Kantaris is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Rory O'Bryen is a University Lecturer at the University of Cambridge. Contributors: Francisco Ortega, Joanna Page, Stephen Hart, Erica Segre, Jesús Martín Barbero, Lúcia Sá, Chandra Morrison, Claire Taylor, Andrea Noble, Ed King.

    eISBN: 978-1-78204-182-5
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Sociology, Art & Art History

Table of Contents

Export Selected Citations Export to NoodleTools Export to RefWorks Export to EasyBib Export a RIS file (For EndNote, ProCite, Reference Manager, Zotero, Mendeley...) Export a Text file (For BibTex)
  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. ix-xii)
  5. Acknowledgements
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  6. Introduction: The Fragile Contemporaneity of the Popular
    (pp. 1-42)
    Geoffrey Kantaris and Rory O’Bryen

    ‘Popular culture’ has always represented a fulcrum within social, cultural and anthropological discourses in Latin America. It has often been imagined as inhabiting interstitial and heterogeneous spaces that have represented a challenge to the dominant cultural paradigms of the ‘lettered city’ since at least Colonial times, and has repeatedly been mapped on to political, economic and even libidinal boundaries – between the country and the city, between the folk and the street, between the ‘masses’ and elite national/political structures. yet since at least the turn of the millennium, concepts of the ‘folk’, the ‘mass’, the ‘people’ and the ‘multitude’ have exploded...

  7. I. Politics

    • 1 ‘And where are the people?’ Genealogies of the pueblo during the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries
      (pp. 45-70)
      Francisco A. Ortega

      ¿Yel pueblo dónde está?[‘And where are the people?’]. According to chroniclers, such was the question Julián de Leyva, procurator of the Buenos Aires Council, posed to Cornelio Saavedra on 25 May 1810, when American patriots called for the creation of an autonomous popular junta (Mitre 1859: 2530).³ The same accounts stress that ‘the people’ had been out on the streets all day but by night had already retired home. The popular mobilization was inscribed by nationalistic historiography as the birth of the nation and Leyva’s question interpreted as engaging in delaying tactics against the revolution. This piece of...

    • 2 Folktales and Fabulation in Lucrecia Martel’s Films
      (pp. 71-88)
      Joanna Page

      Unannounced transitions, ellipses, openingsin medias res, truncated dénouements: examples from Lucrecia Martel’s films would fill a textbook on the subject of the disruption of narrative linearity. Their apparent rejection of the codes of storytelling creates an uncertainty and an ambiguity that confound conventional modes of critical interpretation. This has certainly been the expe rience of many of Martel’s critics, who have found her films – in particular,La ciénaga(The Swamp, 2001) andLa niña santa(The Holy Girl, 2004) – stubbornly resistant to attempts to tease out deeper meanings or to place them within their socio-political context (see, for example,...

    • 3 How Popular is Cuban Popular Culture?
      (pp. 89-108)
      Stephen M. Hart

      In this chapter I address the meaning and representativity of the term ‘Cuban popular culture’ through two rather different test-cases, the first of which is the filmAventuras de Juan Quinquín(1967) by the Cuban film director Julio García-Espinosa (b. 1926), and the second the religious social phenomenon ofsantería. In each case I ask the question of the extent to which the energy of popular culture is co-opted into a new (revolutionary) value-system or whether, ultimately, it escapes that hermeneutic net. It is legitimate to argue that García-Espinosa’s films as much assanteríaas we nowadays understand the phenomenon...

    • 4 ‘El convertible no convertible’: Reconsidering Refuse and Disjecta Aesthetics in Contemporary Cuban Art
      (pp. 109-138)
      Erica Segre

      This chapter discusses the work of internationally acclaimed, influential mixed- and multimedia artists who may be situated between the introduction in the 1990s in Cuba of the policy that granted artists the right to receive payment in convertible currency as well as to promote their work abroad freely, the introduction of a parallel currency for foreign visitors and investors (peso cubano convertible) and the ironic taking stock of the effects that such liberalization and commerce had on visual art practice referenced by the exhibitionCubanos convertiblesin 2008. Its reflections play on the slippage between ‘convertible’ currency and convertible vehicles...

  8. II. Media

    • 5 Narratives of Identity and Media Genres
      (pp. 141-166)
      Jesús Martín Barbero

      Breaking with the sterile cycle that leads from the affirmation of identity as an immutable essence to its negation in the supposed inevitability of homogenization, contemporary thought proposes identity asa construction which emerges through narration. This new way of thinking about identity aims to account both for the changes which traverse mono-identities and the emergence of multiculturalities which exceed ethnic, racial and national categories. Economic and technological globalization diminishes the importance of territories, devaluing the traditional referents of identity, even as, in both contradictory and complementary fashion, local and regional cultures reassert themselves, demanding ever greater forms of self-determination,...

    • 6 Filming favelas: Space, Gender and Everyday Life in Cidade de Deus and Antônia
      (pp. 167-186)
      Lúcia Sá

      In the last ten years there has been a surge in films about Brazilianfavelasfor domestic and international markets, led by Kátia Lund’s and Fernando Meirelles’s blockbusterCidade de Deus(City of God, 2002). Most of those films focus on the violence generated by drug trafficking: this is most famously the case withCidade de Deus, but it also true of José Padilha’sTropa de Elite(Elite Squad, 2007) andTropa de Elite 2(Elite Squad 2, 2010), which offer an implicit response toCidade de Deusby showing the drug war from the point of view of the...

    • 7 Colouring Pollution: ‘Cleaning’ the City and ‘Recycling’ Social Values in São Paulo Street Art
      (pp. 187-206)
      Chandra Morrison

      Adopting city surfaces as their open canvas, Brazilian street artists inscribe São Paulo’s built environment with a chaotic flow of colourful imagery and typographic scripts. Their cumulative input to the urban visual sphere constructs an alternative mediation of the cityscape based in mediatic excess, which disorients (or rather, reorients) the experience and expectations of urban conditions negotiated by city inhabitants on a daily basis. Whilepaulistanostreet art practitioners frequently envision their creative endeavours as an ‘arte pro povo’ – a ‘popular’ public art located between the margins and the masses – because of their nonconformist (often unauthorized) use of public space,...

    • 8 Blogging from the Margins: Grassroots Activism and Mass Media Forms in the Hiperbarrio Project
      (pp. 207-224)
      Claire Taylor

      In recent years there has been a veritable explosion in Internet use in Latin America; according to recent statistics, in South America alone there are over 143 million Internet users, or 36.5 per cent of the population, representing an increase of over 900 per cent between 2000 and 2009.¹ Alongside this growth in Internet use there has been a concomitant growth in literary, socio-cultural and artistic works which make use of the new medium, including blogs, hypertext novels, hypermedia fiction,, online performance art, hacktivism and tactical media, among many others. From the first forays of the Zapatistas into the...

  9. III. Affect

    • 9 Affect, Politics and the Production of the People: Meditations on the Río Magdalena
      (pp. 227-248)
      Rory O’Bryen

      In this chapter I would like to reflect on the ways in which the Magdalena river has figured both in the imaginary production of a Colombian national popular body, and in its dissolution, and at key moments in Colombian history from the mid-nineteenth century to the beginning of the twenty-first. I do so not to reclaim the river and its landscape, in a Romantic vein, as the wellspring of some authentic national ‘spirit’. Instead I am more interested in how instances of the articulation of such a thing occur in both real and imagined spaces where the nation’s integrity is...

    • 10 The Politics of Emotion in the Mexican Revolution: The Tears of Pancho Villa
      (pp. 249-270)
      Andrea Noble

      At the beginning of his seminal social history of the Revolution, Alan Knight describes Mexico on the eve of the outbreak of the civil war:

      Mexico of 1910 was, borrowing Lesley Simpson’s phrase, ‘many Mexicos’, less a nation than a geographical expression, a mosaic of regions and communities,introvertedandjealous, ethnically and physically fragmented, and lacking common nationalsentiments; these sentiments came after the Revolution and were [. . .] its offspring rather than its parents. (Knight 1986: vol. 1, 2; emphasis added)

      The formation of national sentiments has become a key theme in the burgeoning critical literature devoted...

    • 11 Memory and Affective Technologies in the Argentine Comic Book Series Cybersix
      (pp. 271-290)
      Edward King

      The philosopher Bernard Stiegler argues that the ever-increasing technologization of memory is complicit with the shift in the nature of power towards a ‘society of control’. Stiegler borrows this term from Gilles Deleuze who, in his essay of 1990 entitled ‘Postscript on a Society of Control’, himself borrowed the term from William Burroughs to describe a nightmarish extension of the logic of Foucauldian discipline that parallels a shift towards a social logic governed by the flexibility and mobility afforded by digital technologies. Rather than rely on Deleuze’s definition of the term (which emphasizes the crisis of the spaces of disciplinary...

  10. Index
    (pp. 291-302)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 303-303)