When Cultural Policies Change

Comparing Mexico and Argentina

by Elodie Bordat-Chauvin (Author)
©2016 Thesis 268 Pages


How can change in cultural Policy be explained? Through a comparative and historical analysis, this research sheds new light on the emergence, institutionalization and transformation of the cultural policies of two major Latin American countries: Mexico and Argentina.
Elodie Bordat-Chauvin’s investigation is based on the material gathered in ethnographic fieldwork conducted between 2008 and 2010. It gathers observations, unique archive material and more than ninety semi-directive interviews with the majority of Secretaries of Culture in office between 1983 and 2010, several intellectuals, interest groups leaders, cultural managers and members of unions who all played a role in these countries’ cultural policies in the last thirty years.
This work challenges the common assertions that Mexican cultural policy is characterized by inertia and Argentinean cultural policy by instability. It analyses factors of changes – such as the neo-liberal turn, transnationalization, decentralization and politico-institutional changes – and their consequences – including reductions in cultural budgets, transformations in cultural industries and modifications in the balance of power between national, subnational, public and private actors.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Acknowledgements
  • Table of Contents
  • Acknowledgements
  • List of the main abbreviations
  • List of figures
  • Preface by Annick Schramme
  • Introduction
  • How can cultural policies be understood?
  • Comparing cultural policies in order to understand them
  • How to compare cultural policies and why those of Argentina and Mexico?
  • Four dimensions of change, three sectoral policies and three hypotheses
  • Chapter 1. The First Public Actions in The Cultural Sphere
  • Different nation-building projects, different cultural actions
  • A dominant Mexican State, a dynamic Argentinian associative sector
  • Chapter 2. The Emergence and Institutionalization of Cultural Policies
  • Mobilization for the inclusion of culture on the agenda
  • Similar processes for the institutionalization of cultural policies?
  • Chapter 3. Cultural Policies in The Neo-Liberal Turn
  • The changes brought about by decentralization and the private sector’s participation
  • Cultural policies and transnationalization processes
  • Chapter 4. Political and Cultural Policy Changes
  • Changes in actors, changes in representations?
  • The instrumental and institutional dimensions of change
  • Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Annexes
  • Series index
  • About Encatc

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List of the main abbreviations

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List of figures


Table 1. The dimensions of change in Mexican and Argentinian cultural policies

Table 2. Typology of cultural actions in Mexico and Argentina in the 19th and 20th century

Table 3. Comparison of the first mobilizations

Table 4. The characteristics of the Argentinian and Mexican forums

Table 5. Comparison of policy window in the two countries and the transition from forums to arenas

Table 6. Administrative organization of Argentinian and Mexican cultural policies

Table 7. Comparison of the IEPES and PNC proposals

Table 8. Comparison of the CPP proposals and the Mar del Plata declaration

Table 9. Profiles and party adherences of politico-administrative officials (1983-2009)


Graph 1. Evolution of the budget for culture in Mexico (1989-92)

Graph 2. Evolution of the budget for culture and education between in Argentina (1989-92)

Graph 3. Evolution of the budget for culture in Argentina and Mexico (2001-09)

Organization charts

Organization chart 1. Evolution of the politico-administrative apparatus of culture in Argentina (1933-83)

Organization chart 2. Evolution of the politico-administrative apparatus of culture (1921-82)

Organization chart 3. Central administrative services for cultural policies in the two countries in 1989 ← 19 | 20 →


Chart 1. The construction of the politico-administrative apparatus and institutional framework of culture in Mexico (1825-1982)

Chart 2. The construction of the politico-administrative apparatus and institutional framework in Argentina (1810-1972)


Illustration 1. “La Historia de Mexico”, mural by Diego Rivera, National Palace, Mexico

Illustration 2. Photos of the Casino de la Selva Hotel, Cuernavaca. Outside view and mural by J. Renau

Illustration 3. Photos of Buenos Aires from the Buenos Aires Memoria Visual Foundation


Cartography 1. The agents of the main public cultural policy organizations (1989-2009)

Cartography 2. The agents of the main public cultural policy organizations (1989-2014)

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ENCATC President

ENCATC is the leading European network on cultural policy and management. Established in Warsaw in 1992, today ENCATC is the only European network gathering over 120 higher education institutions, training and cultural organisations in over 40 countries. ENCATC has the status of an international non-profit organisation, an NGO in official partnership with UNESCO, an “observer” to the Steering Committee for Culture of the Council of Europe, and is co-funded by the European Commission, Creative Europe programme.


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2015 (December)
Cultural Policy Comparative Politics Cognitive Analysis Neo-Institutionalism
Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2015. 268 pp., 16 b/w ill., 9 tables

Biographical notes

Elodie Bordat-Chauvin (Author)

Elodie Bordat-Chauvin holds a PhD in political science (Institut d’Études Politiques d’Aix-en-Provence) and has been a researcher at CHERPA since 2014. Her research focuses on cultural policies in Mexico, Argentina and France. Her work has been published internationally, including in the International Journal of Cultural Policies and Pôle Sud. She currently teaches cultural policy at Aix-Marseille University and comparative political science at Sciences Po Aix.


Title: When Cultural Policies Change