Cultures of Politics/Politics of Cultures: Re-Visioning Latin American Social Movements

By Sonia E. Alvarez; Evelina Dagnino et al. | Go to book overview

Chapter Two
Culture, Citizenship, and Democracy: Changing Discourses and Practices of the Latin American Left

EVELINA DAGNINO

My primary objective in this chapter will be to identify changes in the approaches made by the Latin American Left to the relationship between culture and politics, as a result of the broader process of renovation within the Left that began to take place at the end of the 1970s. In addition, I will discuss the new directions emerging from concrete political contexts, namely the process of democratization and particularly the crucial role played by social movements in that process.

First, I will briefly address the previously dominant theoretical tendencies in the traditional Marxist approach to the relationship between culture and politics. Second, I will discuss the emergence of an alternative theoretical framework, built upon the influence of Antonio Gramsci, which decisively contributed to disrupting the previous ways of thinking about that relationship. Third, I will analyze new conceptions of democracy and citizenship emerging from the struggles of social movements, which have decisively contributed to new approaches to the relationship between culture and politics. Ultimately, these new approaches came to express a confluence between new theoretical influences and new political directions emerging from concrete contexts. Finally, I will explore the results of my own research on social movements' conceptions about democracy and citizenship

I would like to thank Raul Burgos for his generous bibliographical help and valuable insights for the discussion of the Latin American Left; Sonia Alvarez for a most stimulating and rewarding intellectual parceria from which emerged several of the ideas discussed here; and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico, CNPq, for its research support.

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