Icons emerge out of cultural crises: scholar

The Latin American societies are witnessing a peculiar social transformation in which the crisis in traditional socio-cultural and institutional entities leads to the emergence of charismatic figures, Juan Fernando Calderon, director of Research and Professor at the Latin American Faculty in Social Sciences at the National University of San Martin, Argentina, has said.

He was speaking on ‘The New Multiculturalism in Latin American Societies’ as part of the lecture series hosted by the Inter-University Centre for Social Science Research and Extension (IUCSSRE), Mahatma Gandhi University, in collaboration with the Kerala State Higher Education Council (KSHEC) and the Kerala Council for Historical Research (KCHR), on the varsity campus here other day.

According to Mr. Calderon, this charisma-based politics had been the pattern during the last couple of decades that saw the rise of Lula Da Silva, Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales, Pope Frances, among others. “The new multiculturalism that emerged in these societies has culture at the centre of conflicts, with human dignity as a central issue. The local level conflicts get connected to the national and the global platforms,” he said.

One dark side of this process, in his opinion, would be a possible assertion of fundamentalism and chauvinism. At the same time, politics would also be redefined through a communication policy that in turn would redefine the public space. This new public space would become the site for social and economic changes.

Finance capital

In many countries, finance capital had taken the central stage of cultural and capitalist transformation. In this changed situation, the new social movements were defined by feminist, human rights, ecological and indigenous affirmations, he said.

Some tendencies

Mr. Calderon also marked certain tendencies that characterised this transformation, including the pervasive presence of new media and social networks, culture of techno-sociability, primarily operating through the youth, a focus on cultural diversity and identity, emergence of new religiosities, and a rise in feminist and ecological assertions.

Michael Tharakan, chairman of KCHR, chaired the session, inaugurated by Vice Chancellor Sabu Thomas.


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