The social and educative character of a cultural policy
This article is based on academic research which aims to identify the relationship between
access to culture, the pedagogical process of youth formation, youth participation in
community activities and theappropriation of public space. The challenge proposed by
World Alliance for Arts Education inspired me to contribute to the creation of a new
paradigm to 21th century education. This invitation called upon the social and educative
character of the cultural formation with youths in a national program of cultural policy in
Living Culture is a program formed by the Ministry of Culture that aims to gather three
dimensions of culture: culture as a symbolic expression, culture as citizens' right, and
culture as economy. This program also concedes the possibility of identifying the political
guidelines to orient the decentralization of cultural management, the interaction of diverse
artistic languages, educational work in other policy areas, and the conglomeration of
subjects for diverse cultural backgrounds in cultural spaces. This orientations conforms to
the reformulation of states' role in culture, from the cultural democratization perspective.
As a part of the state's reformulation process in culture, the Living Culture program aims to
establish new management parameters to strengthen democratic aspects of the relation
between state and society. Based on the concepts of empowerment, autonomy and social
protagonism, Culture Points are framed as a space to re-signify cultural creation and foster
practices of different languages which consider the local cultural dynamic and embrace the
knowledge of their communities cultural heritage
The discussion of this article is based on two central questions: to what extent does the
Culture Points' pedagogical process contribute to a culture's promotion and diffusion? And
how does youth who are involved in Culture Point experience and relate it? In order to
answer these questions, we will examine the concepts of culture, cultural action,
interculturality and the links between culture, education and youth.
Choosing to analyze cultural creation and not specifically cultural production is due to the
1 I thank Flávia Landgraf and Jesse Whitehead for their contributions in the translation.
intentionality of focusing the generation of new expressivities. Aiming to show cultural
actions' transformative and disruptive potential, this article approaches the cultural actions
that encourage participation in cultural creation and its transformative developments.
Culture is understood here as a work of creation. We are interested in looking at how
youth learn when composing language, at collective and creative jobs farmings, ethic and
esthetic choices, inventive and expressive free manifestations.
Globalization is comprised of more than just financial aspects. It’s cultural and political
dimensions bring new challenges to intercultural relations. The increase of people’s
mobility and movements puts as central themes on cultural policies agenda the community
living of people and the respect for difference. So the appearance of cultural pluralities and
identities on the local, regional, national and transnational levels emerge simultaneously
with more cultural consumption and homogenization.
On one hand, capitalism increasingly influences the production of culture, and national and
international groups expand their influence on world cultural production through capital
flows. On the other hand the public sphere associated with new media technologies can
amplify its potential to affect social groups’ practices. Thus, the production of cultural
practice takes place in a context of tension between identity and cultural diversity. Cultural
policies are understood within the context of diverse ethnic, racial, sexual and cultural
Therefore, culture is the context in which social acts take place, behaviors are transmitted,
knowledge is conceived and institutions are built. It is when people interact, live and share
Culture as understood in its plain sense, has further meaning than the artistic universe and
contributes to practical collective actions, behavior and institutions that establish social
organization. Culture's characteristic symbolic forms are produced by historical conditions
and because they are an expression of social practices, they create differentiated cultural
fields in society. Thus culture plays an important role in social and political transformation.
As well as in diffusing values, practices and knowledge from one generation to another.
Culture Points were chosen as sociocultural spaces for living and creating this kind of
artistic, cultural, pedagogical e political experience. The Culture Point is also considered a
space for the development of the sociability among youth, providing opportunities for them
to create live projects, develop fine arts skills and interact with the social environment.
The relation between culture and education has always been present during the
elaboration of the concept of culture, both by creating and diffusing knowledge, and
developing languages and ways of communication. The reason for this connection is that
we can not learn separated from culture and socialization.
Formulated in March 2006, the Joint Declaration of IDEA, INSEA and ISME for the
UNESCO World Congress of arts in education asserts: “We believe that today’s
knowledge-based, post-industrial societies require citizens with confident flexible
intelligences, creative verbal and non-verbal communication skills, abilities to think
critically and imaginatively, intercultural understandings and an empathetic commitment to
cultural diversity”. It invites us to reflect and to identify the elements that compose the
social, cultural and political-pedagogical processes that contribute to the formation of
citizens with these characteristics, skills and knowledge.
From the multiple dimensions that constitute the lives of youths, we emphasize culture as
fundamental to the formation of values through collective action in the public space.
Culture is conceived as a field where sociability is produced and identities are created.
In order to analyze the experiences of youths in this research, we define cultural
citizenship as the public dimension of citizen socialization. We believe participation of
youth in cultural activities is a way of encouraging the coexistence of different youth
groups, stimulating intergenerational interactions and promoting the sociability. This
process strengthens the construction of youth identity. With the aim of analyzing the
meaning of this participation, this research is centered in the experience of youth in
cultural public program.
Our background analysis displays the diversity of youth culture and the social
inequality that affects the opportunities of cultural creation, as well as the possibilities
of access to, and enjoyment of culture in Brazilian society. Distribution of cultural
infrastructure and media coverage can also be defined in the context of this social
and regional inequality.
Distribution of cultural infrastructure in Brazilian municipalities expresses the
geographical inequality experienced in several sectors. The distribution of cultural
infrastructure in the south, southeast and midwest regions rate above the national
average, followed by northeast and north. Regarding the percentage distribution of
municipal expenditures on culture, the scenery slightly varies, maintaining the
dominance of the Southeast region, that reaches 51.4% of total public resources with
local culture in 2005. Northeast follows, with 26.2%, South with 14%, North 5.2% and
Midwest 3.3%. (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics, 2007).
This research invites us to rethink the social values built by youth groups in interactions
with their social environment and under the context of cultural actions. The research has
framed youth cultural spaces with their own values and dynamics. This has contributed,
along with Living Culture, to the expression of youth identities. The construction of new
social networks is a relevant component to this process because of its role regulating the
links among its members and enforcing the consistency of the group's collective actions.
We identify a relation between the growth of public spaces of cultural fruition and the
cultural actions based on creative forms of sociability. Those, when integrating
socioeducative actions, may offer conditions to foster collective youth jobs. The dynamic
of cultural mediation taken on by the youth groups reinforces the connection between the
political participation and the diversity of youth esthetics creation. Youth performances in
different spaces – like Culture Points, schools, community – and the liberation of their
expression through multiple skills – artistic, digital, corporal, as well as through
pedagogical formation – strengthened the youth identity.
Some other aspects that constitute this process are: the continuous interactions among
youth and people from other generations, the transit through different spaces and realities,
the experience of sociability in groups with cultural diversity, the inventive cultural actions
and artistic languages, the expression of the youth identities in varied contexts and the
experience of group responsibilities. These are some of the initiatives that qualified the
political youth participation in this study.
The more the youth transits across the different fields and acts in distinct spaces the more
he/she develops his/her autonomy and the more he learns to answer, to adapt himself and
innovate on public and cultural spaces. He has mores resources to choose among actions
and projects to define his trajectory. Autonomy strengthen does not take place only on the
individual sphere but fundamentally in the collective field, through propositions and dialogs
with other people and areas.
Cultural actions' pedagogical process has been fostered by the disclosure of the
participants' singularities, the re-signification of interpersonal relations and the constant
renewal of the collective actions' possibilities. The pedagogical process experienced by
youth at Culture Points has been distinguished by the exposure of its participants to
multiple esthetic languages and the participation in communitarian and intergerational
living. This dynamics enhance mutual co-relation between the cultural pedagogical
process and cognitive elements, its socializing functions and the youths' conception of
their own cultural and artistic expressions.
The intercultural dimension is affirmed as an fundamental tool to promote cultural actions.
The cultural actions taken into account in this article, can only be understood in its
multidimentionality by unveiling the contradictions of its social context and inter-relating its
Cultural actions contribute to consciousness raising and to identify the reality
contradictions because it connects reflexive knowledge and sensible knowledge. It
happens because its essence is constituted in from the interactions of human beings in
their collectivity and its relation to the world. Connecting the realities' unveiling process
and the youth singularities expression it is possible to have the conditions to transform the
reality and build a dynamic unit in diversity.
The emancipatory potential of Living Culture Program emerges from the synergy created
inside Culture Points that congregates different actions form many actors, multiple
languages and methodological proposal. The youth mediates and dynamizes this relation
that propels the symbolic appropriation of subjects' own history, the artistic creation and
cultural manifestation. Interviewed youths' formation contributed to the raising
consciousness about the world social organization forms. This process shows us new
elements that arise to empower youth on intervening at the public sphere.
However, the lack of normative and management instruments to establish the Culture
Points in a way to assure the development of their projects, and concomitantly, to foster a
broad expansion of their actions in a coherent and intersectorial way, consists a limitation
to be overcome to enhance the emancipatory potential of this public policy.
Taking into account the cultural democratization context in which this program is placed,
the importance of the state as an agent who assures access to cultural rights and
conditions for the Culture Points' sustainability is emphasized. It is also necessary to
recognize youth as a political subject and to guarantee proper conditions to the enjoyment
and operation of their political rights. To remark cultural and political spaces occupied by
youth is part of developing a new political culture.
The economic sustainability of the project must be taken into account in a reformulation of
the states role. Public actions must provide sustainability without limiting projects'
autonomy so processual fruition can take place.
Cultural action's political dimension, understood as a dignity condition, brings up the
human cultural plurality. Cultural actions must not be restricted to the preservation of
diverse cultural expressions but it should create environments in which this cultural
singularities may exist, where differences emerge and aims to be shared, assuring the
recognition of the other as a subject of rights.
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municipais/Perfil dos municípios brasileiros: cultura 2006. Rio de Janeiro, 2007.
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FREIRE, Paulo. Pedagogy of the oppressed. Tradução de Myra Berginan Ramos. New
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