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When Cultural Policies Change

Comparing Mexico and Argentina


Elodie Bordat-Chauvin

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.
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This investigation is not the result of solitary work, which is why I want to express my gratitude to all those who accompanied, supported and advised me while I was doing it.

First I thank the ENCATC and the Cultural Policy Research Award panel for enabling me to have this research translated and published.

I also wish to thank all those who agreed to reply to my questions, to tell me their memories but also to lend me their archives and, in particular, Jorge Ruiz Dueñas and Luís Gregorich.

The many Mexican, Argentinian, French and Canadian teachers and researchers with whom I was in contact over the years and who enabled me to enrich this research: in Mexico Fernando Escalante, Bernardo Mabire, Néstor García Canclini, Eduardo Nivón Bolán, in Argentina, Rubens Bayardo, Mónica Lacarrieu, Ana Wortman, in France Philippe Teillet, David Garibay, Jean-François Polo, Olivier Dabène, Emmanuel Négrier, Pierre Muller, Bruno Jobert and in Canada Monica Gattinger, Anne Mevellec and Jonathan Paquette.

I received considerable support from the research service at Sciences Po Aix. Many thanks to Nicole Bordet, Morgan Cordier and Catherine Pettex-Sabaro. I also wish to warmly thank Audrey Freyermuth, Aude Signoles and Philippe Aldrin, Sonia Lemettre and Nicolas Maisetti for our discussions and for rereading my work.

Thanks to all the friends who supported and encouraged me: Camille, Célyne, Chérazade, Julie, Léonore...

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