What are innovation and originality in diverse times? How does the precarious artist participate in the so-called economies of creativity? This lecture sees the Argentinian theorist and cultural critic Néstor García Canclini analyse the redistributions and alternatives to creativity that come together in a new contemporary framework of institutions, movements, audiences and networks.
Social sciences must adapt to the fact that a diagnosis of the present in a time of decomposition no longer originates from responses, but the considerations of new questions. The question ceased to be about how cultures hybridise and identities cross over to become updated in the debate on the construction of cultural legitimacy in a time of uncertainty. Culture, Canclini maintains, has mutated before the destruction of rights, and the function of social thought has left behind the “long duration” of Fernand Braudel in favour of Clifford Geertz’s “orchestration of contrasts”. In this inquiry, the Argentinian thinker backs a renewed conception of anthropology as a key tool for gaining knowledge of and interpreting contemporaneity. The new network environment is crucial to understanding the co-existence of new forms of cultural reception, in which reading abandons its absorption to take on a relational dimension; a new citizenship is formed in these new ways of reading and writing, forcing the crisis of the traditional distinction of the academic field and its value rituals (congresses, seminars, papers), which are turned into a cultural industry. This new connected world obliges us to lean towards another epistemology and the experience of culture – with numerous contact zones, and shadows – this lecture aims to present.
Néstor García Canclini (La Plata, 1938) is a theorist, anthropologist and cultural critic. He currently directs the Study Programme on Urban Culture at the Metropolitan Autonomous University of Mexico. He has also worked as a professor at universities in Austin, Duke, Stanford, Barcelona, Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo. His noteworthy publications include: Hybrid Cultures. Strategies for Entering and Leaving Modernity (University of Minnesota Press, 2005), Diferentes, desiguales y desconectados. Mapas de la interculturalidad (Different, Unequal and Disconnected. Maps of Interculturality, Gedisa, 2004), La sociedad sin relato (Society without a Story Line, Katz, 2010), and most recently, El mundo entero como lugar extraño (The Whole World as a Strange Place, Gedisa, 2014).