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date: 26 July 2017

Cultural Policies of the Chávez Government

This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History. Please check back later for the full article.

The cultural policies of the left wing government of Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, in the new millennium, saw a shift back to funding and patronage of the arts after years of defunding and commoditization of cultural production. However, despite leading to a renaissance of cultural activity, Chavista cultural policy also retained a modernist rationality that treated cultural productions as objects to be classified and quantified. Official cultural policy in Venezuela has historically developed alongside popular cultural formations that draw on alternative conceptions of culture that stem from everyday life. The official and the everyday have developed in tandem and, sometimes, at cross-purposes. Many scholars look to policies and states as the producers of change, but it is at the level of the everyday that we can see the emerging possibilities that define cultural movements in search of social change.