Readingweek Review

Posted by: | February 27, 2009 | Comments Off on Readingweek Review

After a couple of weeks into the course, and a lot of good – though sometimes tedious- reading I am starting to formulate my own version of what is popular culture. Over the past week, I was able to spend some time alone with my thoughts, and trying to put the pieces of this huge puzzle that we refer to as “Latin American Popular Culture.” There are a few things that I’ve notice are always present in our readings: tensions, struggle, religion/believe, hope, and a huge identity crisis.

Latin America seems to be the teenager of the world. It isn’t Europe, and it isn’t Africa, but it is also not purely indigenous. So far, we have only seen the works of Vasconcelos and Wade in terms of efforts to define where Latin America stands in terms of ethnicity. However, as we saw with Rowe and Schelling, regardless of how or where do we place ourselves in the ‘color’ scale, there is an underlying factor in the construction of traditions and other forms of culture in Latin America, there is a dominant minority that refused to be ‘native’ and there is an indigenous majority that refuses to assimilate everything that the west provides. The result is often a compromise either out of agreement, or from one side not being able to submit another.

However, culture – especially popular one – does not always derive from conflict; there are also elements of hope and belief. Apart from the brutal and forceful indoctrination of the native people into Catholicism there is another reason why the region still highly religious. As, we have seen in the readings, we have always been superstitious… and we have always liked believing in higher powers. As seen in the “Legend of the Crystal Mask” long before we knew the Spaniards even existed we were already trying to explain things based on belief rather than on logic. Why? I really don’t know, but I think it’s an important factor to consider, as this ease to belive often leads to false hope.

So yeah, although I am getting an idea of what popular culture is, I think the continent as a whole is more confused than I am.


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