List of panels

(P069)

Linking culture and development in Africa

Location C3.01
Date and Start Time 27 June, 2013 at 11:30

Convenor

Raquel Freitas (University Institute of Lisbon (CIES, ISCTE-IUL)) email
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Short Abstract

This panel explores the link between culture and development in Africa, in a world that is marked by increasing but unsustainable consumerism. We invite papers that address policies linking culture and development in Africa and the dynamics of decision-making between different actors involved.

Long Abstract

The importance of linking culture and development has been recognised with increasing emphasis in the past few years. This acknowledgement derives essentially from the fact that the cultural and creative sectors represent 3.4% of global GDP, while receiving only 1.7% of international development aid.

UNESCO is actively deploying an agenda of mainstreaming culture into development and pursuing the goal of introducing culture as a priority in a post-2015 UN Development Agenda.

There are different interpretations as to how this link can be operationalized, bearing different implications. Essential cleavages reside in the broad or restricted conception of culture, and in the instrumental or intrinsic values of culture. Artists are likely to value the restricted conception that highlights the intrinsic value of culture, associated with art as an end in itself, while policy-makers may be more concerned with a broad notion of culture and how it can be a means to achieve an end, i.e., in this case the objective of contributing to development.

The panel welcomes contributions that address these hypotheses as well as the dilemmas surrounding these various interpretations of culture and how different actors, including policy-makers, donors, civil society, citizens in Africa espouse these or other positions regarding the link between culture and development. We would also welcome papers that include, for example, the perspective of African migrant artists: how they see this link and to what extent they are keen on and able to contribute to the policy debate in their countries of origin.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

Culture and development: a paradigm explored

Author: Christiaan De Beukelaer (University of Leeds)  email
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Short Abstract

“Culture” in processes of “development” is often reduced to cultural and creative industries. I argue, however, that the focus should be more on culture as capacity to aspire (Appadurai 2004) and less as a catalyst of economic growth (UNCTAD 2008; 2010).

Long Abstract

"Culture" in processes of "development" is more often than not reduced to cultural and creative industries (CCI). As such, culture is now being considered explicitly in the context of international development. The Creative Economy Reports (UNCTAD 2008; 2010 and UNESCO/UNDP 2013) are exemplary of this. My argument in this paper is that the predominantly optimistic CCI discourse may however not be as strongly linked to the "culture and development" school of thought in development studies as it seems on first sight (see e.g. Schech and Haggis 2000 and Yousfi 2007). My aim is to clarify the complex relationship that exists between these approaches.

For a considerable time, culture was seen as a stumbling block in the teleological approach to development. This largely economic approach aimed for rational modernization, and considered "traditional" cultural practices as obstacles. Later on, culture became more accepted as a "good" constituent of societies and development processes. Presently, culture is promoted as a building block of development.

In this paper, I expand on the expediency of culture (Yúdice 2003) as the contemporary paradigmatic realm through which culture works in society. I clarify where cultural and development policies overlap, and where their implicit convergence should be studied more closely. I bridge notions of culture as capacity to aspire (Appadurai 2004) and as a catalyst of economic growth (UNCTAD 2008; 2010). I argue that in order to engage with culture for development in a constructive way, the focus should be more on the former and less on the latter.

Envisioning culture, development and power in Africa

Author: Birthe Pater (Goethe University Frankfurt am Main)  email
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Short Abstract

To facilitate a better understanding of the contribution of Culture for Development processes, this paper depicts the entangled career of the concept for Africa. Hence, relational political fields such as ownership and post-colonial identities will question explanatory models of development theory.

Long Abstract

Depending on how culture enters the debate of development theory and practice, different trajectories for theorization and policymaking, what for, are promoted: for participation, for success of development initiatives, economic growth and the contribution of culture for non-economic goals of development. Together, all underscore the key challenge of rethinking development´s objectives and, respectively, the interdisciplinary re-conceptualisation of the concept of culture. Despite, the missing methodological precision endows culture as a residual notion.

Development is a normative concept that defines the direction of economic and social transition depending on space, time and history. At a time when "not many years have passed since the existence of a culture belonging to the "primitive tribes" or "savages' of Africa was commonly acknowledged" (Kossou 1982: 209), phenomenal discussions such as the African and Asian difference in 'cultural characteristics' or 'mentalities', which are conducive to the economic capitalist model , indicate that both, culture and development, imply a shared history and relational political fields. Taking into account that the idea of Western progressive culture and traditional regressive culture basically gave the framework for modernization theory, this paper carefully examines careers of the single notions: culture and development. I argue that development and cultural policies demand broader reflections on entangled implications such as identity politics, ownership but also discrimination and post-colonialism. The explicit connection with 'Africa' facilitates operative definitions.

The argument of the paper derived from an empirical study on a cultural centre in Malawi.

Transnational art worlds and diverging visions of choreographic development in west Africa

Author: Nadine Sieveking (Georg-August-University Göttingen)  email
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Short Abstract

Discourses and politics linking up culture and development in Africa have contributed to a transnationalisation of art worlds. The paper explores the dynamics of increasing inequalities and the diverging development visions of actors involved in the field of contemporary dance.

Long Abstract

Since the period of early nation building, discourses and politics linking up culture and development in Africa have considerably changed in terms of ideology as well as in terms of institutions, actors and resources involved. With austerity and the increasing predominance of neo-liberalism many states have refrained from engaging in cultural politics. Meanwhile, international organisations have discovered the 'expediency of culture' for development, with a particular focus on the domain of contemporary arts. The latter are not only conceived as job providers, but also as means to promote civic consciousness and democratic values, criticise bad governance, deal with social problems and mediate the cleavages of uneven economic growth. Funding schemes encourage transnational artistic networks and provide opportunities for artists who left the continent in 'search for greener pastures' in the global North to establish cooperative links with their countries of origin. However, the sustainability of project based transnational artistic collaborations remains a major challenge. Moreover, the transnationalisation of art worlds goes along with increasing inequalities and asymmetrical power relations on various scales. These relations are intersecting with gender- and age-based hierarchies established in local art fields, partly reinforcing, partly contradicting them. Based on empirical research in Burkina Faso and Senegal, the proposed paper explores the dynamics of inequalities in the field of contemporary dance and analyses the diverging development visions of various actors involved.

Dynamics of the culture and development international agenda in lusophone African countries

Author: Raquel Freitas (University Institute of Lisbon (CIES, ISCTE-IUL))  email
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Short Abstract

This paper explores how the development aid sector operationalises the link between culture and development in lusophone African countries. It aims to provide clues to models of cultural policy that are being diffused and what leeway for policy definition and ownership is contained in such models.

Long Abstract

The international discourse around development aid proposes the instrumentalisation of culture based on a positively valued utilitarian objective that is social and economic development (including poverty reduction). A public policy approach would expect this to be consensual among observers, but it is not, as there are potential negative impacts of such instrumentalisation and discussion is polarized. This link between culture and development has been seen with a critical eye by some in the West, and it is now being diffused to developing countries as part of a top-down international agenda.

The interest of this paper is on what model, if any, of cultural policy is being diffused to developing countries and what leeway (degree and type) for policy choice is contained in such agenda. I propose to pitch public policy theories against critical theories and highlight the potential and limitations of each in explaining current processes and in presenting alternatives to existing challenges.

In order to do that I will explore how the link between culture and development is framed in the interaction between donors and five lusophone African countries: Mozambique, Angola, São Tomé and Principe, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. This will be done through discourse analysis of selected policy, programme and project documents for the different countries.

Cultural ambassadors with a cause: migrant musicians from lusophone Africa in Lisbon

Author: Bart Vanspauwen (Instituto de Etnomusicologia - Universidade Nova de Lisboa)  email
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Short Abstract

Approaching music as a social connection in post-colonial Lisbon, I seek to understand how migrant musicians from Portuguese-speaking African countries position themselves. My research shows a lack of recognition for their contribution to the expressive cultures of Portugal and the home country.

Long Abstract

Approaching music as a point of social connection in the post-colonial city of Lisbon, I seek to understand how local migrant musicians from Portuguese-speaking African countries (PALOP) position themselves. How do they conceive their surrounding community, both in Portugal and their country of origin, and how do they mobilize or question existing structures and resources?

Drawing on an intensive ethnography carried out in Lisbon in the last 5 years, I examine the significance of musicians in the transnational construction of lusophone migrant identities and ethnicities. In general, my research shows a lack of recognition for their contribution to the expressive culture of the Portuguese capital. Although their performances occur in a European context in which cultural entrepreneurs deploy a variety of labels to promote post-colonial mixtures, all interviewees connect their music directly to their home country. They consider themselves cultural agents that use music as a way of preserving African tradition. Most of all, they want to safeguard 'traditional music', promoting their native cultural values and languages, by using Lisbon as a communicative space. In addition, they indicate that there is a direct relation with regard to lack in cultural support here and there, and formulate practical policy suggestions.

These cultural ambassadors appeal to both supranational institutions and national governments, asking for structural support in order to promote the expressive culture of Portuguese-speaking African countries, indicating that their contribution should be considered as an integral part of the cultural heritage of both Africa and Europe.

In pursuit of national reconciliation and development: the cultural policies in Angola

Author: Gabrieli Gaio (Technical University of Lisbon)  email
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Short Abstract

This paper analyzes the cultural policies in Angola through a historical perspective. It is argued that, since the end of Angolan civil war, the government has adopted a pragmatic posture concerning culture, subjecting its cultural policies to national reconciliation and socio-economic development goals.

Long Abstract

This paper analyzes the evolution of Angolan cultural policies in a historical perspective. The analysis is divided in three distinct moments. The first moment consists in the independence context, the second corresponds to the civil war years and the last moment comprises the years following the end of the war.

This work shows that, in the first two moments analyzed, the cultural policies in Angola suffered from different restrictions - mainly due to the eminent fear of national disintegration - which led to the denial of the county's cultural diversity. In such moments, it is possible to note that Angola adopted a defensive attitude towards cultural issues.

However, in the years after the end of Angolan civil war, the government has adopted a proactive posture concerning culture. This period comprises the launch of innumerous policies related to culture in the country, including the creation of the Ministry of Culture, in the end of 2002. From this moment on, Angola's government has tried to shape Angola's cultures, aiming national reconciliation and development. In order to do so, the government has shown a pragmatic and instrumental view about culture, launching policies that aim its adaptation to "modernity values" and its commercialization. In this sense, the culture acquires value if it can contribute to national development by generating "wealth and jobs".

"Positively enlightened": ways of thinking and acting on 'culture' and 'development'

Author: Hélder Nhamaze (Eduardo Mondlane University)  email
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Short Abstract

Discussion on the concepts of 'culture' and 'development' in the context of International Development Assistance

Long Abstract

This communication starts by arguing that the currently dominant paradigm in the Social Sciences is, in its essence, an heritage of Enlieghtenment and strongly influenced by a Positivist approach. Hence the concepts of 'Culture' and 'Development' are imagined, operationalized and discussed within that framework. That framework provides a biased and dogmatic understanding of those to concepts, one that simultaneously dismisses other interpretative stands.

Using Ireland Development Assistance to Mozambique as anedoctal evidence the communication finalizes by tentatively suggesting a theorization that responds to the challenges posed to social studies in the 21st century.

A cultura di matchundadi e o projeto modernizador das instituições de desenvolvimento na Guiné-Bissau: mulheres, conflitos e poder

Author: Joacine Katar Moreira  email
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Short Abstract

O processo modernizador do Desenvolvimento proporciona à mulher guineense um lugar artificial nas intervenções, que contrasta com um contexto pouco favorável à sua afirmação, onde predomina a transversal cultura di machundadi.

Long Abstract

O Desenvolvimento (e o seu projeto modernizador) é uma indução cuidadosa e forçada, não espontânea sob o ponto de vista da prática colectiva, que interfere e condiciona a dinâmica das sociedades onde intervém, não sendo um processo pacífico, pois tende a implicar ruptura e descontinuidade.

Os projetos, sejam eles de iniciativa endógena ou exógena, são normalmente levados a cabo tendo como motores determinadas lógicas de funcionamento, quer discursivas quer instrumentais. Estas lógicas têm a ver com os esquemas valorativos e referenciais dos seus promotores, entre estes as instituições financiadoras das intervenções.

A cultura di matchundadi - ou a cultura do macho e da virilidade - é apontada como uma das características marcantes da sociedade guineense e é vista como um obstáculo à paz e à pacificação das relações sociais e culturais no país, pois a força, o poder, o orgulho e a coragem de ser macho e da valorização do músculo enformam ainda hoje em dia uma sociedade em constantes conflitos internos.

A mulher guineense, ao entrar no processo modernizador do Desenvolvimento, encontra um lugar (artificial) no projeto, inserido no seu contexto (real) que não é - ou não tem sido - favorável à sua afirmação. Querendo alterar o posicionamento da mulher de acordo com padrões de modernidade, as intervenções para o desenvolvimento podem gerar conflitos de Género.

This panel is closed to new paper proposals.