Media @ McGill

Mauricio Delfin: Cultural policies, networked technologies and civic engagement in Latin America

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The nature of my doctoral research project lies at the intersection of cultural policy, networked technologies and civil society. I am interested in two interrelated issues: (1) The study of civil society’s emerging technology-based organizational and communicative practices aimed at reconfiguring cultural policies, and (2) the analysis of informational and communicational State practices aimed at measuring and controlling a cultural landscape and sector.

My doctoral work will entail conducting ethnographic and multi-sited research in Latin America, focusing in Peru but including two other countries. I want to study how contemporary civil society organizes in network formations facilitated by new technologies, in an attempt to transform cultural policies in the region. My research interests stem from the realization that Latin America exhibits a particular regional ecology of cultural networks that is currently understudied and under-theorized. My doctoral studies aim to contribute towards a more profound understanding of this ecology.

Simultaneously, my doctoral work would study contemporary State practices and discourses on cultural policy in Latin America, especially as these relate to the economization of culture and the constitution of a Cultural Economy in the South. I am interested in the informational and communicational practices used by the State to capture and exploit cultural resources, and how cultural networks in different national settings challenge them. Of particular interest are the differences between State cultural policy traditions in the region, and how cultural network “genealogies” and State characteristics provide for country-specific variations. In summary, my research project is interested in emerging cultural policy contestation practices by “networked” civil society, and the informationalization/economization of the Cultural State in Latin America, through technological means and in a context of digital culture and expanded public spheres.