Popular Culture in Latin America

Posted by: | January 26, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular Culture in Latin America

Although a bit long-winded at times, I think this article did a great job in summing up the many facets of Latin American popular culture. I feel like the readings from the past 2 weeks have led up to the reading of this article on “The Faces of Popular Culture”. It took the ideas we’ve discussed in class on what culture is and what the people are, and put them in the context of Latin America. 
The article describes Latin American popular culture as a certain interplay between indigenous and Hispanic elements. I’ve read articles in the past on this mix of indigenous and Hispanic cultures, and usually the authors stress the fact that the latter has transformed the former. In this article however, I enjoyed the argument the authors made that indigenous culture was not only transformed by Hispanic culture, but that Hispanic culture was transformed by indigenous culture as well. I feel that this argument is well-illustrated when the authors talked about the “Andeanization of international styles or an internationalization of the Andean,” referring to the result of the mix of Andean music with international styles.
The article also rejects notions of Hispanic culture as taking over indigenous culture in relation to Quechua poetry. The authors state that Quechua poetry is open to “innovation, without abandonment of tradition.” Again, the authors bring to light the argument that when indigenous and Hispanic cultures collide, it doesn’t necessarily mean that indigenous culture has to conform to the presumably more dominant Hispanic culture, but that there can be a more equal give-and-take between the two cultures. 
I enjoyed the arguments made in the article with relation to the movement of Latin American rural popular cultural into the modern sector. The article brings up the argument that this movement isn’t necessarily bad for rural pop culture, and doesn’t have to mean that rural culture is diluted. Rather, the modernization of rural popular culture can provide ways for it to survive and be maintained and developed. 
Not until near to the end of the article did I begin to understand what exactly “popular culture” is. In the discussion of the telenovela, the article describes the subject matter and plots for a variety of popular telenovelas. The issues tackled in these shows tend to be current issues being experienced by society as a whole. My idea is that popular culture is a vehicle for the expression of current issues being faced by society. The article mentions “the People’s Radio” which allows people, usually those oppressed by society, to express their concerns, by giving them a voice and a vehicle for expression. The article also stresses the fact that the radio is an important media in popular culture because it is practically accessible by all people in society. I believe this is a key distinction between popular culture and high culture: the fact that popular culture is able to break down barriers between the different social classes in society. As the authors mention, popular culture is able to break down these barriers as “all social groups have at their disposal the same cultural repertory.”


Comments are closed.

Name (required)

Email (required)


Speak your mind

Spam prevention powered by Akismet